David M. Kennedy (author)
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.
In the book Don't Shoot, Kennedy describes a program, sometimes referred to as Operation Ceasefire, which he introduced in Boston, Massachusetts to combat drug- and gang-related violence in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods.
The program had 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 program resulted in a dramatic reduction in violence and cooperation between gang members and police, where they became so confident of its success that they would report to the police on new, aggressive gangs and ride with officers to help identify members.
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.
Kennedy lives in Brooklyn, New York.
- Broken windows theory, which Kennedy has critiqued as alienating to the communities targeted by it, albeit effective at crime reduction.
- 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