Law-enforcement professionals regularly say that sophisticated police and prosecutorial work needs to be supplemented by social programs to effectively curb violent crime ("Homicides on track for 45-year low in Philadelphia," June 30). In fact, there are community and faith-based efforts across the city aimed at reducing gun violence.
Philadelphia CeaseFire, based at Temple University School of Medicine's Center for Bioethics, Urban Health & Policy, is an evidence-based public health program that treats violence like a disease. This model, developed in Chicago, is being duplicated in 15 cities and five other countries and has reduced shootings and homicides, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Men and women hired from the community intervene with young people to prevent violent behavior. The first full year of implementation in the 22nd Police District saw a 21.7 percent reduction in homicides and an 11.8 percent decline in shootings.
In addition, Temple University Hospital offers Cradle to Grave, a no-punches-pulled, two-hour program that tells the story of a North Philadelphia teenager died after being gunned down at 16. To date, this unvarnished look at the aftermath of weapon violence has been given to more than 8,000 participants. Finally, Temple's trauma team - like the others in the city - provides the most sophisticated trauma care available to those who have been shot, thereby offering the potential to save additional lives.
Larry R. Kaiser, M.D,, dean, Temple University School of Medicine; president and chief executive officer, Temple University Health System, Philadelphia