Additional Resources:

Program Profile: Operation Peacekeeper

Evidence Rating: Effective - One study Effective - One study

Date: This profile was posted on June 06, 2011

Program Summary

A community and problem-oriented policing program in Stockton, CA, to reduce gang involvement and violence among urban youth (10-18). Youth Outreach Workers served as mentors for youth in neighborhood settings. This program is rated Effective. The program was associated with a significant decrease in the monthly number of gun homicides. Also, when compared to gun homicide trends in other midsize California cities, the reduction in homicides in Stockton could be associated with the program.

Program Description

Program Goals
Operation Peacekeeper is a community and problem-oriented policing program that was implemented in 1997 to address gun violence among youth gang members in Stockton, Calif. The program’s goal is to reduce gang involvement among urban youth aged 10 to 18 and decrease gun-related violence among gang-involved youths. It is modeled after the Ceasefire Initiative by the Boston (Mass.) Police Department, which used detailed information about gang activity to identify problem areas and reduce gang-related violence in the Boston metropolitan area.

Program Activities
To convey a credible, clear message about the consequences of gang violence to youths already involved in or at risk of being involved in gangs, Operation Peacekeeper relies on Youth Outreach Workers to communicate to youths that they have better options for their lives. Youth Outreach Workers are streetwise young men and women trained in community organizing, mentoring, mediation, conflict resolution, and case management. Working in neighborhood settings wherever young people at risk of violence are found—including schools, parks, street corners, and apartment complexes—the Youth Outreach Workers serve as mentors and positive role models for youth. Their role is to make sure youths understand the consequences of violence and that there are positive alternatives to gang membership.

Program Theory
The program uses a problem-oriented policing paradigm to address specific problem areas and offenders. In particular, it uses the “pulling levers” deterrence strategy, which tackles a specific problematic criminal activity by implementing specialized prevention or intervention techniques. In Stockton, this strategy focused on the issue of gun violence among youth gang members.

Key Personnel
Operation Peacekeeper uses outreach workers in collaboration with government and community-based organizations to provide resources for youths to escape a gang lifestyle. The program also depends on the involvement of the community to help influence criminal justice agencies to construct customized solutions.

Evaluation Outcomes

top border
Study 1
Gun Homicide in Stockton
Braga’s (2008) pre/post–comparisons showed that the average monthly count of gun homicide incidents decreased by approximately 35 percent during the time Operation Peacekeeper was in place (1997–2002) in Stockton, Calif. In the time period prior to the intervention, the monthly average was 2.9 gun homicides; the monthly average then dropped to 1.9 during the intervention period. After the Peacekeeper intervention ceased, the monthly average of gun homicides increased slightly to 2.1 incidents but still remained relatively low. According to the results of the regression analysis, the Peacekeeper strategy was associated with a statistically significant decrease in the monthly number of gun homicides, controlling for other predictor variables. The analysis demonstrated that Operation Peacekeeper was associated with an overall 42 percent decrease in the monthly number of gun homicide incidents in Stockton.

Gun Homicides in 8 Other Cities
The results of the comparison quasi-experiment showed that none of the eight California cities experienced a statistically significant drop in crime rates during the Peacekeeper intervention. This outcome suggests that when compared to gun homicide trends in other midsize California cities, the reduction in homicides in Stockton can be associated with the Peacekeeper intervention.
bottom border

Evaluation Methodology

top border
Study 1
Braga (2008) used a basic one-group time series design to analyze the impact of the Operation Peacekeeper program on gun homicide trends in Stockton, Calif. The citywide number of gun homicides in Stockton was examined for each month from Jan. 1, 1990, to Dec. 31, 2005. The total number of observations was 192 (monthly counts), with 92 preintervention observations, 64 treatment months, and 36 posttreatment months. Gun homicide data for the 1990–2004 time period was obtained from FBI Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) data, and the Stockton Police Department Crime Analysis Unit provided 2005 gun homicide incident data. September 1997 was selected as the program start date and December 2002 as the end date, and no rival programs were implemented in Stockton during this time period. A multivariate regression analysis was done to determine if the changes in homicide trends in Stockton were statistically significant, as well as to control for other explanatory factors that could potentially impact homicide trends.

In addition, a nonrandomized quasi-experiment was used to compare gun homicide trends in Stockton to gun homicide trends in other midsize California cities. To do this, monthly counts of gun homicide incidents from the SHR were analyzed for eight California cities with a population between 200,000 and 500,000 residents: Anaheim, Bakersfield, Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland, Riverside, Sacramento, and Santa Ana. Data from January 1990 to December 2004 was used in this analysis; 2005 data was not analyzed for the comparison cities. There were a total of 180 observations (monthly counts) for the eight cities. In order to isolate the impact of Operation Peacekeeper, a multivariate regression analysis was conducted to account for the impact of violent crime rates, trends, and seasonal variations on homicide trends in each city.
bottom border


top border
There is no cost information available for this program.
bottom border

Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

top border
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Braga, Anthony. 2008. “Pulling Levers Focused Deterrence Strategies and the Prevention of Gun Homicide.” Journal of Criminal Justice 36(4):332–43.
bottom border

Additional References

top border
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

City of Stockton Peacekeepers. N/d. “Peacekeepers: A Youth Gang & Violence Prevention and Intervention Program.” Stockton, Calif.

Wakeling, S. 2003. “Ending Gang Homicide: Deterrence Can Work.” Perspectives on Violence Prevention No. 1. Sacramento, Calif.: California Attorney General's Office/California Health and Human Services Agency.
bottom border

Related Practices

top border
Following are practices that are related to this program:

Focused Deterrence Strategies
Problem-oriented policing strategies that follow the core principles of deterrence theory. The practice is rated Promising. The evaluation found that focused deterrence strategies (also referred to as “pulling levers" policing) can reduce crime.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types

Problem-Oriented Policing
These analytic methods are used by police to develop crime prevention and reduction strategies. The practice is rated Promising and led to a significant decline in crime and disorder.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types

Reducing Gun Violence
Reducing gun violence is a persistent public policy concern for communities, policymakers and leaders. To reduce gun violence, several strategies have been deployed including public health approaches (e.g., training and safe gun storage); gun buy-back programs; gun laws; and law enforcement strategies. The practice is rated Promising for reducing violent gun offenses.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Violent offenses
bottom border

Program Snapshot

Age: 10 - 18

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White, Other

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting, High Crime Neighborhoods/Hot Spots

Program Type: Community and Problem Oriented Policing, Community Awareness/Mobilization, Gang Prevention/Intervention, Specific deterrence

Targeted Population: Serious/Violent Offender, Young Offenders, Gang Members

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Campbell Collaboration

Program Director:
Ralph Womack
Program Manager
City Manager’s Office
425 N. El Dorado Street
Stockton CA 95202
Phone: 209.937.8880
Fax: 209.937.7149

Anthony Braga
Senior Research Fellow
Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge MA 02138
Phone: 617.495.5188