David M. Kennedy (author)
David M. Kennedy is a criminologist, professor and author specializing in crime prevention among inner city gangs, especially in the prevention of violent acts among street gangs. Kennedy developed the Operation Ceasefire group violence intervention in Boston, MA, in the 1990s and the High Point Model drug market intervention in High Point, NC, in 2003, which have proven to reduce violence and eliminate overt drug markets in jurisdictions around the United States. He is the author of two books, Don't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America (2011), a popular treatment of his violence reduction work with street gangs, and Deterrence and Crime Prevention: Reconsidering the Prospect of Sanction (2008), a theoretical publication. He is the coauthor of Beyond 911: A New Era for Policing, a book on community policing.
David M. Kennedy has been the director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, NY since 2005. He co-founded the National Network for Safe Communities in 2009 and he is the organization's co-chair. Kennedy is also a professor in the Anthropology Department of John Jay College.
Prior to his position in the college, Kennedy was a senior researcher and adjunct lecturer in the Program in Criminal Justice, Policy and Management at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
In 1994, Kennedy was a visiting faculty member at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Prior to that, he was a senior casewriter in the Case Program of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and an analyst at the Raytheon Service Company, Transportation Systems Center, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Kennedy is the author of Don't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America. It was published in 2011 by Bloomsbury USA (ISBN 978-1608192649). He has been profiled in New Yorker, interviewed on National Public Radio and 60 Minutes, and his book has been reviewed in The New Republic. The book has been characterized as a "page-turner" despite being an essentially academic publication.
He is a professor of criminal justice, and the director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He is the recipient of two Webber Seavey awards from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, two Innovations in American Government awards from the Kennedy School of Government, and a Herman Goldstein Problem-Oriented Policing Award.
Kennedy has influenced the approaches to drug enforcement by the administrations of presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He has spoken to many organizations, including the United States Congress, Scotland Yard, the National District Attorneys' Association, and the United States Conference of Mayors.
Kennedy lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Don't Shoot: One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America
Published 2011, Kennedy's Don't Shoot: One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America describes the development of Operation Ceasefire, also commonly known as the Group Violence Intervention, which he and colleagues introduced in Boston, Massachusetts to combat gang-related violence in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods.
The program has three components. Recognized gang members would be brought in under probation or parole authority, and given an opportunity to listen to concerned members of their own community express their desire for the violence to stop. Social workers would offer services to help them detach from the cycle of violence, and the police would assure them that each gang that continued to engage in violence, starting with the most violent, would be effectively targeted and removed from the streets. They were asked to relay this threefold message to their fellow gang members. Recognizing that the gang members were arming themselves because of the escalating violence and the fears they had for their safety, the police pledged to react strongly to any threats against those cooperating with the effort.
The success of the program has been acknowledged. Kennedy's principles are being applied in other cities suffering from highly violent gang activity among their youngsters. Other cities are studying the program and devising ways to implement it in their communities.
Deterrence and Crime Prevention: Reconsidering the Prospect of Sanction
Published in 2008, Kennedy's Deterrence and Crime Prevention: Reconsidering the Prospect of Sanction is a theoretical work that provides an overview of deterrence approaches to preventing crime and forwards a new deterrence framework based on Kennedy's work reducing gang violence and eliminating overt drug markets. On traditional deterrence models, Kennedy writes, "Deterrence is at the heart of the preventive aspiration of criminal justice. Deterrence, whether through preventive patrol by police officers or stiff prison sentences for violent offenders, is the principal mechanism through which the central feature of criminal justice, the exercise of state authority, works -- it is hoped -- to diminish offending and enhance public safety. And however well we think deterrence works, it clearly often does not work nearly as well as we would like – and often at very great cost."
Kennedy identifies that a small number of high rate offenders commit the vast majority of serious crime in a community and theorizes a new framework for deterrence, through which law enforcement and community leaders engage directly with these offenders to deliver particular deterrence messages to them. Law enforcement is to give the offenders clear information about sanctions and put them on prior notice that specific criminal acts will be met in the future with special law enforcement attention. Community members deliver a credible moral message to the offenders that the community demands an end to the specific criminal act. Kennedy argues that groups rather than individuals should often be the focus of deterrence messaging. This new framework for deterrence, Kennedy argues, will reduce offending by enhancing both formal legal sanctions and informal social control. The book summarizes its arguments as follows:
- many of the ways in which we seek to deter crime in fact facilitate offending;
- simple steps such as providing clear information to offenders could transform deterrence;
- communities may be far more effective than legal authorities in deterring crime;
- apparently minor sanctions can deter more effectively than draconian ones;
- groups, rather than individual offenders, should often be the focus of deterrence;
- existing legal tools can be used in unusual but greatly more effective ways;
- even serious offenders can be reached through deliberate moral engagement;
- authorities, communities, and offenders - no matter how divided - share and can occupy hidden common ground.
The book gives the example of High Point, North Carolina, a city in which this deterrence framework successfully reduced gang-related violence and eliminated overt drug markets. Kennedy further theorizes that this framework has potential to deter the most serious domestic violence offending.
David M. Kennedy received the 2011 Hatfield Scholar Award for scholarship in the public interest.
Kennedy's work has won the following awards and notable commendations:
- Ford Foundation’s Innovation in Government award program (twice)
- Webber Seavey Award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (twice)
- Herman Goldstein International Award for Problem-Oriented Policing
- Person of the Year Award from Law Enforcement News
- Chief’s Award, High Point Police Department, High Point, North Carolina
- Director’s Commendation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
- Letter of appreciation, Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers
- Statement of thanks, Vice President Al Gore, launch of the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative
- Broken windows theory, which Kennedy has critiqued as alienating to the communities targeted by it, albeit effective at crime reduction.
- Stop-and-frisk in New York City, which Kennedy has critiqued as an overly broad method of enforcement and as ultimately irrelevant to the work of reducing violence.
- Anthony A. Braga and David L. Weisburd, The Effects of “Pulling Levers” Focused Deterrence Strategies on Crime,Campbell Systematic Reviews, 2012.
- John Jay College of Criminal Justice Faculty Profile of Professor David M. Kennedy
- Publisher Weekly review of David M. Kennedy, Don't Shoot: One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America
- John Seabrook, "Don't Shoot: A radical approach to the problem of gang violence", The New Yorker, 22 Jun 2009.
- "Interrupting Violence with the Message 'Don't Shoot" Interview with David M. Kennedy, Fresh Air, NPR, 1 Nov 2011.
- Benjamin Wallace-Wells, "Crews Control", The New Republic, 6 Oct 2011. Review of David M. Kennedy, Don't Shoot.
- Amazon author profile at: David M. Kennedy, Deterrence and Crime Prevention: Reconsidering the Prospect of Sanction, Routledge, 2008, ISBN 978-0203892022.
- Amazon author profile at: David M. Kennedy, Don't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America, Bloomsbury, 2011, ISBN 978-1608192649
- David M. Kennedy, Don't Shoot: One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America, New York: Bloomsbury, 2011.
- David M. Kennedy, Deterrence and Crime Prevention: Reconsidering the Prospect of Sanction, New York: Routlege, 2008.
- John Jay College of Criminal Justice Faculty Profile of Professor David M. Kennedy
- David M. Kennedy, "Getting Beyond Stop-and-Frisk," New York Daily News, July 15, 2013.