• Attempting restoration of obliterated serial numbers and subsequent trafficking investigations based on those restorations;

  • Supporting these enforcement priorities through analysis of crime gun traces generated by the Boston Police Department’s comprehensive tracing of crime guns and by developing leads through systematic debriefing of (especially) arrestees involved with gangs or involved in violent crime.

The Boston supply-side approach was implemented in conjunction with the pulling-levers demand-side strategy to reduce youth violence. The gun trafficking investigations and prosecutions followed the implementation of the pulling-levers strategy, so their effects on firearm-related violence could not be independently established (Braga et al., 2001a). However, the National Institute of Justice, in partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, recently funded a demonstration program in Los Angeles to examine the effects of disrupting the illegal supply of firearms on the nature of the illegal market and on firearm-related violence (Tita et al., 2003). In addition to addressing the firearm-related violence problem in Los Angeles, this interagency law enforcement project was developed to provide other jurisdictions with guidance on how to analyze and develop appropriate problem-solving interventions to control illegal firearms markets.

Other Applications of the Pulling-Levers Focused Deterrence Approach

After the well-publicized success of Boston’s Operation Ceasefire, a number of jurisdictions began experimenting with these new problem-solving frameworks to prevent gang and group-involved violence. Braga et al. (2002) detail the experiences of Minneapolis (MN), Baltimore (MD), the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles (CA), Stockton (CA), and Indianapolis (IN) in tailoring the approach to fit their violence problems and operating environments. Although specific tactics sometimes varied across the cities, these programs implemented the basic elements of the original Boston strategy, including the pulling-levers focused deterrence strategy, designed to prevent violence by and among chronic offenders and groups of chronic offenders; the convening of an interagency working group representing a wide range of criminal justice and social service capabilities; and jurisdiction-specific assessments of violence dynamics, perpetrator and victim characteristics, and related issues such as drug market characteristics and patterns of firearms use and acquisition. All were facilitated by a close, more or less real-time partnership between researchers and practitioners. Basic pretest/posttest analyses from these initiatives revealed that these new approaches to the strategic prevention of gang and group-involved violence were associated with reductions in violent crime (Braga



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