The VRC produces high quality research with concrete implications for anti-violence policy and practice. Emphasizing cumulative knowledge building, the VRC performs systematic reviews, evidence gap maps, replication studies, and other work to overcome internal and external validity challenges. Our goal is to give policymakers and practitioners access to a body of evidence that is reliable and robust enough to inform concrete conclusions about what to do about community gun violence in the real world.

In late 2023, in partnership with professors Ericka Adams of San José State University and  Ed Maguire and Cody Telep of Arizona State University, the VRC will complete a Campbell Collaboration systematic review of street outreach programs to determine whether such initiatives effectively reduce violence. These programs have gained popularity in recent years, with substantial increases in funding being directed towards community-oriented, street-based violence reduction strategies. The review will assist policymakers, practitioners, and the public in better understanding the effects of such programs. For more information, review the title registration here.

Also in late 2023, working with professors David Wilson and Catherine Kimbrell of George Mason University, the VRC will complete a Campbell Collaboration systematic meta-review, updating Thomas Abt and Christopher Winship’s original 2016 meta-review on the topic. The study will report the results of systematic reviews of interventions intended to directly or indirectly reduce community violence to assist policymakers, researchers, and the public in better understanding what works to best reduce community violence. For more information, review the title registration here

In early 2024, the VRC will publish its flagship product – an online registry of anti-violence strategies supported by systematic reviews of experimental and quasi-experimental evidence.

For more information on systematic reviews and meta-reviews, see our FAQs.


Selected Research by VRC Staff

Bleeding Out: The Devastating Consequences of Urban Violence – And a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets

Thomas Abt, 2019. Basic Books.

Bleeding Out proposes a relentless focus on community violence using smart-on-crime strategies that do not require new laws or big budgets. Bringing these strategies together, the book offers a concrete, cost-effective plan to reduce homicides and save more than 12,000 lives nationally over eight years.

[Get Book]

Towards a Framework for Preventing Community Violence Among Youth.

Thomas Abt, 2017. Psychology, Health & Medicine.

In an effort to assist the selection and deployment of evidence-informed strategies, this paper proposes a new conceptual framework for responding to community violence among youth.

[Read Article]

What Works in Reducing Community Violence: A Meta-Review and Field Study for the Northern Triangle.

Thomas Abt & Christopher Winship, 2016.

This systematic meta-review of over 1,400 studies identifies which strategies are most effective in reducing community violence.

[Read Article]

Focused Deterrence and Improved Police-Community Relations: Unpacking the Proverbial Black Box.

Rod Brunson, 2015. Criminology & Public Policy.

Given the widespread attention received by Boston’s Operation Ceasefire, this paper interrogates how notable crime reduction is achieved and whether focused deterrence strategies yield other important societal benefits.

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We Trust You, But Not That Much: Examining Police-Black Clergy Partnerships to Reduce Youth Violence.

Rod Brunson et al., 2013. Justice Quarterly.

This paper examines activist black clergy involvement in local youth violence reduction initiatives and efforts to improve police-minority relations in Boston, Massachusetts.

[Read Article]

Lessons of the Street Code: Policy Implications for Reducing Violent Victimization Among Disadvantaged Citizens.

Eric Stewart, Christopher Schreck, & Rod Brunson, 2008. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice.

This article focuses on the policy implications of Anderson’s “Code of the Streets” thesis, violent victimization, and offending.

[Read Article]


Other Research Resources

The Campbell Collaboration Crime and Justice Coordinating Group coordinates, facilitates, and encourages the production, updating and accessibility of high-quality systematic reviews. This international network of researchers prepares and disseminates systematic reviews of high-quality research to inform criminal justice policies, reduce crime, and increase justice in society.

The Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University conducts rigorous studies in criminal justice and criminology through research-practice collaborations while proactively serving as an informational and translational link to practitioners and the policy community.

The Center for Neighborhood Engaged Research & Science (Corners) at Northwestern University collaborates with community and civic partners to leverage the power of networks to build safer, healthier, more equitable neighborhoods.

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health Center for Gun Violence Solutions conducts rigorous research on evidence-based, equitable policies and programs to prevent gun violence.

The National Academies’ Committee on Law and Justice seeks to improve government decision making and public policy and promote the understanding and dissemination of research in matters involving law and justice. Its independent, expert reports and other scientific activities identify new areas of research, assist in resolving scientific controversies, extend the research agenda in established areas, promote theory development, and advance research-based policies.

RAND's Gun Policy in America initiative provides information on what scientific research can tell us about the effects of gun laws.

The Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice produces credible research evidence that can be accessed and understood by many audiences, not only researchers.

The University of Chicago Crime Lab combines data science and research to implement evidence-based programs and policies that have an outsized impact on public health and safety.

The University of Pennsylvania Crime and Justice Policy Lab helps governments and communities by using research to support innovation of new policy solutions.