Our Comprehensive Violence Reduction Strategy (CVRS)

Like other public health threats, violence is a symptom of many risk factors interacting at different levels; no single factor can put some individuals or communities at a higher risk than others. Both risk and protective factors exist at four different levels within our social ecology: the individual, the relationship, the community, and the societal.

Within this ecological framework, preventing violent behavior or the likelihood of violent behavior is possible, but complex. The public health approach to violence reduction addresses the unique conditions in a given community at the “root” of long-term neighborhood violence. Therefore, a public health approach rejects suppression-only strategies that fail to address the underlying community conditions spawning gangs and violence. This model also goes way beyond incremental, “one child at a time,” solutions to community violence.


Instead, the public health model advocates for a wrap-around solution within each high-violence community that is linked to a larger, regional strategy. This graphic shows Urban Peace’s logic model that includes 10 root conditions of community violence, 5 elements of violence reduction, and our 3 guiding principles in doing this work:

All of the 19 communities in which Urban Peace has conducted a community violence assessment share 10 common root conditions that contribute to entrenched violence. These conditions manifest themselves differently in each community, reflecting the historical and cultural legacy of each neighborhood, as well as the specific way in which public policy and local practices have evolved.

Some communities may have experienced rapid demographic shifts while others may have a highly transient population – both lead to isolated families. Some may have chronically under-performing schools while others may only have recently experienced a decline – both lead to lack of school attachment for at-risk youth. In short, despite the specifics, we have found that all communities with violence and gang entrenchment have some manifestation of these 10 root conditions.


Through our practice of technical assistance and support of 19 communities, Urban Peace has developed concrete tools that operationalize the Ten-Five-Three. Our Comprehensive Violence Reduction Strategy (CVRS) Framework is one of those tools. These tools help a community to identify its assets and needs, build a multi-sector stakeholder network for action, and develop the most feasible pathway for violence reduction tailored to that community.

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