The Crime Lab partnered with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to implement Connect & Redirect to Respect (CRR), a program designed to reduce violence and promote safety among CPS students.
Crime Lab researchers interviewed 26 school leaders to understand their schools’ safety challenges. Many described the key role social media plays in fueling physical conflict between students inside and outside of school.
CRR utilized social media monitoring to identify students at risk of engaging in violent behavior, such as instigating conflict or brandishing a weapon. Once identified, students met with a caring CPS adult who sought to understand their situation and connect them with programs and services to reduce the risk of violent behavior. The program also provided non-enforcement interventions through the Chicago Police Department’s specialized Gang School Safety Team (GSST) and ongoing support from the OSS team.
To evaluate the efficacy of CRR, the research team compared the outcomes for students enrolled in high schools that received the program to outcomes for students enrolled in comparison high schools that did not receive the program. The analysis focused on gun violence, criminal justice involvement, and academic outcomes.
The study found suggestive evidence that students attending participating high schools were at lower risk of being shooting victims, experienced fewer misconduct incidents and out-of-school suspensions, and attended school for several additional days compared to students in non-participating high schools.
Overall, the CRR program demonstrated the potential promise of a coordinated approach to proactively monitor social media disputes to minimize the resulting threats to student safety and reduce violent victimization among students.