Changes in Attitudes toward Guns and Shootings following Implementation of the Baltimore Safe Streets Intervention

Adam J. Milam, Shani A. Buggs, C. Debra M. Furr-Holden, Philip J. Leaf, Catherine P. Bradshaw, Daniel Webster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among youth 15 to 24 years of age, homicide and nonfatal shootings are the leading causes of mortality and morbidity. Urban youth’s attitudes and perceptions about the use of gun violence to resolve conflict present a major barrier to efforts to reduce gun homicides and nonfatal shootings. The current investigation extends the existing literature on attitudes toward guns and shootings among high-risk youth ages 18 to 24 by measuring perceived norms and viewpoints regarding gun violence in two analogous Baltimore City neighborhoods pre-implementation and 1-year post-implementation of the Safe Streets intervention (adapted from the CeaseFire/Cure Violence intervention). The Safe Streets intervention is designed for communities with high rates of gun violence and utilizes outreach workers to identify and build trusting relationships with youth ages 15 to 24 who are at greatest risk of being involved in gun violence. The outreach workers also position themselves in the community so that they can rapidly intervene in disputes that have the potential to lead to gun violence. Chi-squared tests and exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) were used to examine changes in attitudes toward gun violence 1 year after the implementation of the Safe Streets intervention. There was a statistically significantly improvement in 43 % of the attitudes assessed in the intervention community post-intervention compared to 13 % of the attitudes in the control community. There was a statistically significant improvement in the violent attitudes toward personal conflict resolution scale after implementation of the intervention in both the intervention (b = −0.522, p < 0.001) and control community (b = −0.204, p < 0.032). Exposure to the intervention (e.g., seeing stop shooting signs in your neighborhood) was also associated with the nonviolent attitudes toward conflict scale. Overall, the study found greater improvement in attitudes toward violence in the intervention community following the implementation of the Safe Streets program. These findings offer promising insights into future community violence prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-626
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Attitudes
  • Gun violence
  • Violence
  • Young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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