This is a focused deterrence violence-reduction strategy. The goal was to lower the city’s exposure to violent crime, including reducing the numbers of homicides and aggravated assaults committed by chronic violent offenders operating within organized groups and other social networks. The program is rated No Effects. Two years postimplementation, there was no statistically significant impact on homicides, group-member-involved homicides, and aggravated assaults.
Program Goals/Target Population
Kansas City (Missouri) No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA) is a focused deterrence violence-reduction strategy. The goal was to lower the city’s exposure to violent crime, including reducing the numbers of homicides and aggravated assaults committed by chronic violent offenders operating within organized groups and other social networks.
Kansas City is a large city in the Midwest with a population of around 500,000. KC NoVA was developed in response to an increase in violent crime. The city averaged more than 100 homicides a year from 2010 through 2013. In 2015, the city was 1 of 10 cities experiencing the greatest increases in homicide numbers in the United States (Fox and Novak 2018; Rosenfeld 2016).
The program was organized by an interagency coalition of law enforcement, social services, and community and research organizations. It was determined that a disproportionate number of violent crimes involved a relatively small number of individuals and groups. Therefore, KC NoVA set out to design messaging, service delivery, and enforcement elements to reach out directly to those known to be involved in violence. Police relied on “group audits” to identify and locate the groups and individuals most likely to be involved in violence. Group audits consisted of facilitated meetings where frontline police officers shared and documented what they collectively knew about current violent groups and their members, relationships, and activities. The intelligence that came from these meetings was analyzed and used as a basis for planning and directing targeted enforcement activities. Quarterly group audits were held to obtain an ongoing stream of intelligence from street-level officers about violent crime in the community. Social network analyses provided additional information useful for developing targeted solutions to violent crime.
In addition, an interagency enforcement group was formed to lead the program’s coordinated response to all violent incidents that qualified as “triggers” for enforcement action. A triggering event was defined as a group-member-involved homicide. All enforcement responses followed a generalized template designed to guide the agencies in quickly planning specific actions whenever triggering events occurred. The objective was to ensure rapid apprehension and sanctions for violent offenders and key members of their social networks. The enforcement responses were expected to influence each group member associated with the violent offender(s) in some legally appropriate way (such as arrests, warrants, administrative jail sanctions, or enhancement of probation terms).
Another aspect of the program was the delivery of clear, direct messaging about the new policy to chronic violent group members and their peers. This allowed individuals to decide between facing certain, stringent sanctions if they (or a close associate) engaged in violence, or remaining nonviolent and receiving support from local service providers offering assistance with education, job training, employment, and other types of services. The main forum for the direct messaging was the “call-in”, where targeted individuals were invited to hear about these options while participating in a structured, risk-free, face-to-face discussion with enforcement personnel, community members, and service providers. Call-ins occurred four times a year at churches in the urban core of the city where most of the violence was occurring. KC NoVA staff reached out to potential offenders and victims at their homes, in police stations, and at probation and parole offices.
Focused deterrence strategies (also referred to as “pulling levers" policing) are problem-oriented policing strategies that follow the core principles of deterrence theory. Deterrence theory posits that crime can be prevented if potential offenders believe the costs of committing a crime outweigh the benefits (Zimring and Hawkins 1973). According to Kennedy (2006), there are six elements essential to the implementation of focused deterrence strategies: 1) selecting a particular crime problem; 2) assembling an interagency enforcement group; 3) conducting research to identify key offenders, with the help of frontline officers; 4) forming a special enforcement operation directed at key offenders who commit further violence; 5) matching enforcement with supportive services and community encouragement; and 6) communicating directly and often with offenders, letting them know they are under close scrutiny and how they can avoid sanctions (as described in Fox and Novak 2018).
Fox and Novak (2018) found that although there was a decrease in homicides in the first year of implementation of the Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA), there was no statistically significant impact on homicides 2 years postimplementation.
Group-Member-Involved (GMI) Homicides
Two years postimplementation, there was no statistically significant impact on GMI homicides.
Two years postimplementation, there was no statistically significant impact on aggravated assaults.
Fox and Novak (2018) examined the impact of the Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA) on violent crime from 2014 through 2016 using time series analyses. The Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) provided data on all reported homicides and aggravated assaults between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2016. The data were aggregated by month for 96 months; the first 60 months (January 2009–December 2013) comprised the pre-implementation period, and the last 36 months (January 2014–December 2016) comprised the post-implementation period. The NoVA intervention was implemented across the entire city; therefore, the researchers relied on citywide data. Data came from the KCPD record management system and were based on the final offense classifications from the incident reports generated by the responding officers.
To assess the changes in violent crime between the pre- and post-implementation periods, the main outcomes of interest were the indicators of violent crime, including reported incidents of homicide (including group-member-involved homicides) and gun-involved aggravated assaults (not related to domestic violence). Homicides were classified as group-member-involved (GMI) if either a victim or a suspect was a known gang/group member. When the victim was not a known group member and the suspect was unknown, the circumstances of the incident were considered (including location and time of day, suspected involvement of the victim in illicit acts preceding a homicide related to group violence, the manner and type of death, and likely suspects).
The outcomes of interest were longitudinal count variables (i.e., numbers of incidents per month). The researchers conducted time series analysis with robust standard errors. Poisson-based regression models were used, with negative binomial regression used for those models in which the outcomes were overdispersed. Indicators for each month were included in the models to control for seasonal differences that might influence the number of incidents in certain months. Full models were estimates for homicides and gun-involved aggravated assaults, while a partial “main effect” model was used for GMI homicides due to sample size issues. The study authors did not conduct subgroup analyses.
There is no cost information available for this program.
The Alliance that helped to develop and run the Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA) included the Jackson County Prosecutor; the Kansas City Mayor; the Kansas City Chief of Police; the Regional Administrator of Probation and Parole; the Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri; and the Chancellor of the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Technical assistance from the National Network for Safe Communities and the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence helped the Alliance to form the interagency enforcement group that coordinated the responses to all violent incidents that qualified as “triggers” for enforcement action. (Fox and Novak 2018).
Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:Study 1
Fox, Andrew M., and Kenneth J. Novak. 2018. “Collaborating to Reduce Violence: The Impact of Focused Deterrence in Kansas City.” Police Quarterly
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:
Fox, Andrew, Kenneth J. Novak, and Majid Bani Yaghoub. 2015. Measuring the Impact of Kansas City’s No Violence Alliance.
Kansas City, Mo.: University of Missouri–Kansas City, Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology.
Rosenfeld, Richard. 2016. Documenting and Explaining the 2015 Homicide Rise: Research Directions
. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
Zimring, Frank, and Gordon Hawkins. 1973. Deterrence: The Legal Threat in Crime Control.
Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press.
Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:Focused Deterrence Strategies
This practice (also referred to as “pulling-levers policing”) includes problem-oriented policing strategies that follow the core principles of deterrence theory. The strategies target specific criminal behavior committed by a small number of chronic offenders, such as youth gang members or repeat violent offenders, who are vulnerable to sanctions and punishment. The practice is rated Promising for reducing crime.Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
| ||Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types|
These analytic methods are used by police to develop crime prevention and reduction strategies. The practice is rated Promising and led to a significant decline in crime and disorder.Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Reducing Gun Violence
| ||Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types|
Reducing gun violence is a persistent public policy concern for communities, policymakers and leaders. To reduce gun violence, several strategies have been deployed including public health approaches (e.g., training and safe gun storage); gun buy-back programs; gun laws; and law enforcement strategies. The practice is rated Promising for reducing violent gun offenses.Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
| ||Crime & Delinquency - Violent offenses|