Drugs, Race and Common Ground: Reflections on the High Point Intervention   [open pdf - 544KB]

"When Chief James Fealy arrived in High Point, N.C., in 2003, he found parts of the city awash in drugs and dealers. But rather than relying on traditional suppression and interdiction approaches to fight the problem, Fealy -- who had worked narcotics for more than a quarter of a century in the Austin (Texas) Police Department -- spearheaded a new, potentially transformative strategy. Its roots were in the now-familiar 'focused deterrence' approach, which addresses particular problems -- in this case drug markets -- by putting identified offenders on notice that their community wants them to stop, that help is available and that particular criminal actions will bring heightened law enforcement attention. The High Point initiative, however, added the unprecedented -- and initially terrifying -- element of truthtelling about racial conflict. The result of these conversations in High Point was twofold: a plan for doing strategic interventions to close drug markets and the beginning of a reconciliation process between law enforcement and the community. […] This strategy is being replicated in other cities by the Bureau of Justice Assistance through the Drug Market Intervention Initiative. In High Point and in other cities, the drug markets have closed and there have been large reductions in violent and drug-related crime, with no sign of displacement. A fundamentally new understanding between law enforcement and the community may be the most important outcome."

Report Number:
NIJ Journal Issue No. 262
National Institute of Justice (U.S.)
Retrieved From:
National Network for Safe Communities: http://www.nnscommunities.org/
Media Type:
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