Evaluation of Reach and Effectiveness in City Investments in Violence Prevention

Project: Research project

Project Details


The 2020 budget of the City of Chicago invested $10.5 million dollars toward violence reduction strategies in 15 Community Areas with the highest levels of serious violence victimization and the greatest concentration of individuals with the highest risk of involvement in violence. These investments were made in four key programmatic areas: 1. Expansion of street outreach (CDPH, $7.5 million) 2. Integration of trauma-informed victim services with outreach organizations (CDPH, $1.5 million) 3. Building community capacity through trauma-informed trainings (CDPH, $500,000) 4. Support for youth and young adults at highest risk of violence (DFSS, $400,000) Some of the investments are scheduled to begin on May 1, 2020. This proposal represents an effort to develop a program that will facilitate the research and evaluation of these investments. This proposal describes a research and evaluation effort of the first two investments. The third and fourth investments address larger community capacity and youth/young adult populations and different clusters of community organizations and city-related services; the timing of these initiatives is also unclear. Many of the methods and approaches described here could be adapted to better understand the third and fourth investments but would require additional resources to cover a wider array of agencies; we are happy to revisit the impact of these latter two initiatives at a later date and build off of to the enclosed proposal. GUIDING RESEARCH AND EVALUATION OBJECTIVES On April 10, 2020 the Northwestern Neighborhood and Network Initiative (N3), The Crime Lab, representatives from the Mayor’s Office, and The Joyce Foundation convened to determine the research and evaluation objectives, distilling them into four key research and evaluation questions/aims: 1. Identifying who (i.e., which participants) the grantees are reaching and ensuring that grantees are collecting the required information to identify individual participants receiving services as part of the investments; 2. Assessing the risk-level of individuals who receive services as part of city investments to determine if the individuals receiving services are at the high(est) levels of risk for gun involvement; 3. Determining the direct and indirect reach of the City’s violence prevention investments to understand how many people the City’s investment impacts, both the number of participants who receive direct services, as well as any possible indirect impact on participants’ immediate networks, families, and neighborhoods; and 4. Assessing whether the city’s investments impacted violence among those (primarily) reached by investments and (secondarily) within the larger neighborhood and network contexts. While each of these aims represent significant tasks in their own right, there is an important order of operations that must occur in order for a full assessment of the reach and impact of the City’s investment. In short, success rests on grantees’ ability to successfully track the individual participants who are part of the funded programmatic efforts with the highest possible level of accuracy and the ability of the Research Team to locate these individuals in administrative records and across different grantees’ records/data systems. To these ends, an overall research and evaluation plan would consist of the following six key phases, listed here in order of priority to the success of the overall research and evaluation effort. The majority of the work discussed here involves a Pre-Research and Evaluation Stage
Effective start/end date8/1/204/30/23


  • Joyce Foundation (SG-20-42571)


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.