police service, reports from other police units, and information gained from other investigations. As Rosenfeld and Decker describe, “an innovative feature of the program is its use of a ‘Consent to Search and Seize’ form to secure legal access to the residence. Officers inform the adult resident that the purpose of the program is to confiscate illegal firearms, particularly those belonging to juveniles, without seeking criminal prosecution. The resident is informed that she will not be charged with the illegal possession of a firearm if she signs the consent form” (p. 204). While it was operating, the program generated few complaints from the persons who were subjected to the search, but it received criticism from local representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union, who questioned the possibility of receiving real consent to search when a person is standing face-to-face with two police officers (Rosenfeld and Decker, 1996).

A key component of the program was to respond to problems identified by residents, and the success of the program was reliant on effective police-community relationships. By seeking and acquiring community input into the process of identifying and confiscating guns from juveniles, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department developed a model of policing gun violence that put a premium on effective communication and trust with the community not found in most problem-oriented policing projects. As Rosenfeld and Decker (1996) observe, the Firearm Suppression Program was also designed to send a clear message that juvenile firearms possession will not be tolerated by the police or the community because it places individuals at risk and threatens public safety. However, while this program gained national attention for its innovative approach and seemed to be a promising route to disarming juveniles,7 the Mobile Reserve Unit underwent a series of changes that caused the program to be stopped and restarted several times; the subsequent incarnations did not take the same approach as the original program. A rigorous impact evaluation of the original Firearm Suppression Program was not completed.

Boston Gun Project and Operation Ceasefire

The Boston Gun Project was a problem-oriented policing enterprise expressly aimed at taking on a serious, large-scale crime problem—homicide victimization among young people in Boston. Like many large cities in the United States, Boston experienced a large, sudden increase in youth homicide between the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Boston Gun Project proceeded by: (1) assembling an interagency working group of largely line-level criminal justice and other practitioners; (2) applying quantitative and

7  

Rosenfeld and Decker (1996) note that the officers involved in the program seized 402 firearms in 1996 and, during the first quarter of 1996, seized 104 firearms.



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