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6 Ohio St. J. Crim. L. 141 (2008-2009)
Losing Faith - Police, Black Churches, and the Resurgence of Youth Violence in Boston

handle is hein.journals/osjcl6 and id is 143 raw text is: Losing Faith? Police, Black Churches, and the
Resurgence of Youth Violence in Boston
Anthony A. Braga, David Hureau, and Christopher Winship*
Boston received national acclaim for its innovative approach to preventing
youth violence in the 1990s.1 The well-known Operation Ceasefire initiative was
an interagency violence prevention intervention that focused enforcement and
social service resources on a small number of gang-involved offenders at the heart
of the city's youth violence problem.2 The Ceasefire strategy was associated with
a near two-thirds drop in youth homicide in the late 1990s.3 While the sudden
decrease in youth homicide was surprising and certainly newsworthy, the Boston
approach was also noted for its extraordinary police-community relationship
spearheaded by the Ten Point Coalition of activist black clergy.4 The involvement
of black ministers in the Ceasefire strategy provided a mechanism of transparency
and accountability to the minority community that conferred the legitimacy
*  Anthony A. Braga is a Senior Research Associate and Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard
University's Kennedy School of Government and a Senior Research Fellow at the Berkeley Center
for Criminal Justice, University of California, Berkeley. David Hureau is a Research Associate in the
Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management at Harvard University's Kennedy School of
Government. Christopher Winship is the Diker-Tishman Professor of Sociology at Harvard
University. The research presented here was supported by funds from the Russell Sage Foundation
and The Boston Foundation. The points of view represented here are the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the official position of the Russell Sage Foundation, The Boston Foundation,
Boston Police Department, or the Ten Point Coalition.  The authors would like to thank
Commissioner Edward Davis, Superintendent Paul Joyce, Superintendent Kenneth Fong, Deputy
Superintendent Earl Perkins, and Carl Walter of the Boston Police Department for their assistance in
the acquisition of the data presented in this article. We also would like to thank Brian Welch and
Baillie Aaron for their excellent assistance in the completion of this article.
1  See, e.g., Fox Butterfield, In Boston, Nothing is Something, N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 21, 1996, at
A20; Gordon Witkin, Sixteen Silver Bullets: Smart Ideas to Fix the World, U.S. NEWS & WORLD
REP., Dec. 29, 1997, at 67; Charles Radin, Reaching Up Against Crime: Partnerships, Awareness,
Behind Boston's Success, BOSTON GLOBE, Feb. 19, 1997, at Al.
2 David Kennedy, Anne Piehl & Anthony Braga, Youth Violence in Boston: Gun Markets,
Serious Youth Offenders, and a Use-Reduction Strategy, 59 LAW & CONTEMP. PROBS. 147, 147-96
(1996); Anthony Braga et al., Problem-Oriented Policing, Deterrence, and Youth Violence: An
Evaluation of Boston's Operation Ceasefire, 38 J. RES. IN CRIME & DELNQ. 195, 195-225 (2001).
3  Braga et al., supra note 2, at 204.
4 Christopher Winship & Jenny Berrien, Boston Cops and Black Churches, 136 PUB. INT. 52,
52-68 (1999); Jenny Berrien & Christopher Winship, An Umbrella of Legitimacy: Boston's Police
Department-Ten Point Coalition Collaboration, in SECURING OUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE: NEW

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