News from City Hall
City Communications Office
City of Kansas City, Mo.
CONTACT: Mary Charles, city communications officer, (816) 513-1356
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 4, 2010
Violence prevention expert shares strategy with City officials
Violence in U.S. cities is not a problem that can’t be solved, according to Dr. Gary Slutkin, a nationally recognized expert on violence prevention. Dr. Slutkin, executive director of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health and founder and director of CeaseFire, participated in a news conference today with officials from the City of Kansas City, Mo.; and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.
At the 11:45 a.m. news conference, held in the City Council Chambers on the 26th floor of City Hall, Slutkin said CeaseFire’s evidence-based, public health approach has been successful in reducing violence, particularly shootings, in Chicago and other U.S. cites where the model has been implemented.
“CeaseFire does not see violence as an unsolvable problem in our cities,” Dr. Slutkin said. “We’ve been successful in Chicago and we want to share CeaseFire’s successful violence prevention strategies with cites and communities across the nation, because even one life lost is one life too many,” Dr. Slutkin said. “We stand ready to help so that this country can move forward and our neighborhoods will be safe places where children can concentrate on building their futures.”
According to Dr. Slutkin, in the first two years of the program's presence on Chicago’s neighborhood streets, residents there saw a 40 to 50 percent drop in shootings.
“We are honored to have Dr. Slutkin, a nationally renowned leader in violence prevention, to provide our leadership with information about proven tools and ideas that could help bring our community together to improve public safety,” said Councilwoman Cathy Jolly, 6th District at large, and chairwoman of the City Council Public Safety and Neighborhoods Committee. Jolly also is co-chair of the City’s Health Commission.
Others participating in the news conference included Dr. Rex Archer, director of the City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department; Tracie McClendon-Cole, coordinator of the City’s Municipal Justice Program; and Major Anthony Ell, commander of the East Patrol Division of the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.
Community engagement is one of the key components of the CeaseFire model. In June 2009, CeaseFire was recognized at the National Institute of Justice Conference in Arlington, Va., as a successful approach to reducing neighborhood violence by working with community organizations and focusing on street-level outreach, conflict mediation, and changing community norms. CeaseFire also has been cited as a model program by Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., and other members of President Barack Obama’s administration.
Following the news conference, Dr. Slutkin will present information about the CeaseFire model to the City Council at its 1:30 p.m. Business Session on the 10th floor of City Hall.
Media inquiries on this topic should be directed to Jeff Hershberger, public information officer for the Health Department, (816) 840-2548 (pager).