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Proviso Probe

Thursday, August 30, 2007

CeaseFire accounting and effectiveness questioned

CeaseFire is coming under criticism for poor accounting and because research is questioning its effectiveness as a violence reduction tool. See Sun-Times (David McKinney & Frank Main) or Chicago Tribune (Angela Rozas & Rex W. Huppke).

The primary way I've noticed CeaseFire is the demonstrations after homicides. I suspect there is limited potential for reducing homicide through candlelight vigils after killings.

In social sciences there's a phenomenon called the Hawthorne effect. It's named after the Hawthorne Works in Cicero.

If researchers tinker with a social system and then observe the results of the tinkering there will be a temporary improvement that is caused by the increased observation, not the changes in the social system.

I suspect CeaseFire vigils--at best--could produce a temporary and modest reduction in firearm violence and homicide.

I don't know about CeaseFire's other programs, but the research seems to indicate any benefits are difficult to detect.

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