Violent Crime Working Group

Violent crime, particularly homicide, is rising rapidly in cities across the nation. Recent reports from the Council find a 30% surge in murders in 2020 compared to the previous year, and a 16% increase for the first half of 2021. Meanwhile, property and drug crimes declined during these same periods.

This rise in violence is claiming lives, filling prisons, and undermining momentum for policing and other criminal justice reforms. Policymakers and practitioners at all levels of government need solutions now.

Composed of a diverse range of leaders representing community organizations, law enforcement, the public health sector, and academia, the Violent Crime Working Group is dedicated to addressing the most pressing and challenging issues concerning crime, violence, and justice.

Launched in July 2021, the Group meets on a rolling basis, tackling a different challenge during each session. Member discussions and findings are then summarized and released in public bulletins featuring concrete suggestions for policy and practice as well as links to relevant research, programs, and funding. The Group also produces independent research on crime trends and holds webinars on select topics.

Who We Are

Thomas Abt

Thomas Abt

Senior Fellow, Council on Criminal Justice (Chair)

Ciera Bates-Chamberlain

Executive Director, Live Free Illinois

Eduardo Bocanegra

Senior Director, READI Chicago

Paul Carrillo

Director, Community Violence Initiative, Giffords Law Center

Hernán Carvente-Martinez

Founder and CEO, Healing Ninjas, Inc.
Vaughn headship

Vaughn Crandall

Co-Director, California Partnership for Safe Communities

Linda Harllee Harper

Director, Gun Violence Prevention, Washington DC
Dr. Isom Director Photo[79]

Daniel Isom

Director of Public Safety, City of St. Louis
LMK 2021 (2)

London Kite

Duval County (FL) Court Judge 
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Ajima Olaghere

Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice, Temple University

Emily Owens

Professor, Dept. of Criminology, Law, and Society, University of California-Irvine
Alex Piquero 2020 Headshot

Alex Piquero

Chair, Dept. of Sociology, University of Miami

Jason Potts

Captain, Vallejo Police Department
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Chico Tillmon

Senior Research Fellow, University of Chicago Crime and Education Labs

Emada Tingirides

Deputy Chief, Los Angeles Police Department
DW photo 2 2019

Daniel Webster

Bloomberg Professor of American Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

What We Do

Meeting Bulletin #6: Victimization, Trauma, Mental Health, and Violent Crime

At its eighth meeting, the Violent Crime Working Group examines impacts of victimization and trauma on mental health and violent crime.

Event Recording: Collaborative Approaches to Reducing Community Gun Violence

Watch three members of the Violent Crime Working Group discuss how police and communities can work together to stop violence and save lives.

September 2021 Update: Pandemic, Social Unrest, and Crime in U.S. Cities

A new analysis for CCJ looks at crime trends in major U.S. cities through the first nine months of 2021.

Meeting Bulletin #5: Law Enforcement Based Responses to Violence

At two sessions in October, the Violent Crime Working Group highlights the promise of key violence reduction strategies, provides guidance to help leaders now.

Meeting Bulletin #4: Community Based Responses to Violence

At two Sessions in September, the Working Group highlights the promise of four key violence reduction strategies, provides guidance to help leaders launch programs now.

Homicide Trends: What You Need to Know

This brief summarizes key takeaways based on the newly issued FBI report as well as historical and more recent data.

Meeting Bulletin #3: Understanding Violent Crime

In the Violent Crime Working Group's third meeting, members discussed the evolving nature of violent crime.

Meeting Bulletin #2: Crime Trends in Context

In the Violent Crime Working Group's second meeting, members identified the possible drivers of recent spikes in violent crime.

Event Recording: Violent Crime Webinar

Watch researchers, analysts, and Council members discuss the latest rising crime trends, as well as what’s behind them.

Meeting Bulletin #1: Convening the Violent Crime Working Group

In the Violent Crime Working Group's first meeting, diverse experts identified the values and goals they will bring to their urgent work.

Update: Pandemic, Social Unrest, and Crime in U.S. Cities

June crime statistics show homicides and violent crimes increased by 16% in the first half of 2021 compared to the prior year.

Council Launches New Violent Crime Working Group

Council launches Violent Crime Working Group as murder counts in major American cities continued to rise throughout the first half of 2021.


Support for this initiative comes from the Charles Koch Institute, The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,  Microsoft, The Pew Charitable Trusts, as well as CCJ’s general operating contributors.