Evaluation of the Philadelphia Community Crisis Intervention Program (CCIP)
Despite falling rates of violent crime in many American cities over recent years, Philadelphia has experienced the opposite trend, with the number of gun-related shootings and deaths rising since 2015. Nearly 500 individuals lost their lives to gun violence in the city in 2020, both 40% increases from 2019 and the highest annual number of firearm homicides since 1990 (Philadelphia Police Department, 2020). Besides the human toll for victims and their families, gun violence in Philadelphia and beyond increases health care costs, decreases property values, and disrupts social services (World Health Organization, 2014).
Recognizing the need to reverse the trend of increasing homicide and shooting rates, Philadelphia developed a strategic plan in 2018 to reduce gun violence, setting goals of reducing yearly homicides by 30% (baseline of 351 homicides in 2018) and shootings by 25% (baseline of 1,403 shootings in 2018) by the end of 2024. A key objective in this plan is investment in the Community Crisis Intervention Program (CCIP), which deploys credible messengers as outreach workers to combat violence by intervening where the violence is most prevalent. CCIP workers seek to foster meaningful relationships with citizens at the highest risk for violence, provide individuals involved in criminal activities with positive alternatives, and respond to neighborhood crisis with mediation and resources.
The CCIP approach is patterned after Cure Violence (previously called Cease Fire) crisis intervention network models. Such models are often described as group intervention public health approaches to gun violence because of their focus on individuals at greatest risk for violence. This approach is aimed at stopping the spread of violence after an incident occurs (much like the spread of disease) through violence interrupters and trying to stop the “bleeding” when incidents are brewing and about to erupt into violence. The strength and the challenge of the Cure Violence model is its adaptability to local context. The benefit is that the model can be used in diverse places with relatively good effect if implemented in a manner that retains the core components of the intervention’s effectiveness. The challenge is understanding what these core components are and how to implement them consistently and with quality (National Academies of Science, 2017).
The City of Philadelphia selected AIR as the independent evaluator of CCIP. AIR’s goal for this work is to conduct a credible, actionable process and outcome evaluations of CCIP. Evaluation results will help determine future scale-up plans for the program and support Philadelphia’s strategic goal to reduce shootings and gun-related homicides in the city by 2024.
For the evaluation, AIR will:
- Complete an evaluability assessment of CCIP to determine which outcome/impact evaluation model is best suited for the program;
- Conduct a process evaluation of CCIP to explore how the program is operated on the streets;
- Create an outcome/impact evaluation design of CCIP based on findings of the evaluability assessment and process evaluation; and
- Conduct an outcome/impact evaluation of CCIP to explore how CCIP is affecting gun violence and inform the city’s decisions on next steps for the program.
For this work, AIR is building upon experiences evaluating Massachusetts’ Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, which combines public health and public safety approaches to reduce gun and gang violence among young men and women ages 17–24, and our work reviewing and disseminating information and evidence on crime and violence prevention efforts in the Latin America, and Caribbean region.
Palmer, C. (2021). Philly’s violent year: Nearly 500 people were killed and more than 2,200 shot in 2020. The Philadelphia Inquirer.
World Health Organization (2014). Global status report on violence prevention. Washington, DC.