Skip to main content

David Kennedy '80 Praised for Crime Fighting Strategy in Newsweek

David Kennedy '80 Praised for
Crime Fighting Strategy in Newsweek

by Alisa Giardinelli

David Kennedy '80

David Kennedy '80


In a recent Newsweek profile, criminologist David Kennedy '80 describes his approach to combatting crime, methods that are being adopted by police departments from Atlanta to Seattle. In one cited example, a crime-infested Nashville neighborhood where Kennedy's program was used saw a 91 percent drop in crime and prostitution in 2008.

"We've been in this cycle in which law enforcement pushed harder and harder and harder, which drives the community further and further away," he says. "That creates additional space for the relatively few bad guys to operate, which makes law enforcement push harder and makes the community step further back. We're in this spiral of decline, and the great revelation of the High Point [N.C.] work was that we can consciously step out of that spiral and, in fact, reverse it." more  

The work in High Point that Kennedy refers to is the drug market elimination strategy he designed for the city's police department; the program earned the 2007 Innovations in American Government Award from the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control and a member of the faculty at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice since 2005, previously directed the Boston Gun Project, which won numerous awards, including the Ford Foundation Innovations in Government Award, for its Operation Ceasefire Initiative.