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During the summer of 2013 Nick interned with the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice as part of a working group of academics and police officials are convening to add dosage to the current Group Violence Reduction Strategy in Chicago. The working group focused on building upon the pulling levers strategy employed with Operation Ceasefire in Boston by incorporating research on community intervention, social networks, post-incidence response, police legitimacy, public communication to top-tier offending, social services, and messaging.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my summer internship at the National Network for Safe Communities has been participating in conversations with a wide range of criminal justice practitioners. After reading the book Don't Shoot by my boss David Kennedy, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Harvard alumnus and former president of the Institute of Politics, brought his police chief and a dozen other criminal justice and community leaders from South Bend to our New York office for a two day crash course on our Gun Violence Initiative. I participated in a similar training for Syracuse, New York.
Another highlight was assembling leaders in the field of social services for a two-day working session to better understand how we can support individuals at risk of committing violent crimes. There are great opportunities to improve the effectiveness of social services, and the conference inspired me to rethink how I view support and outreach programs with hopes of doing more research on this topic in the future.
I’ve also been fortunate to see the Gun Violence Intervention model in action and seeing how it has evolved since being first implemented in Boston in the 1990s. I’ve attended "call-ins" in both Harlem and New Haven where members of drug crews are told by community representatives that they are tired of the violence, law enforcement promises that future violence will be met with clear, predictable, and certain consequences, and service providers offer to help in any way they can.
Nick is pursuing his Master in Public Policy (MPP) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) with an emphasis on criminal justice reform. Prior to HKS Nick researched handgun violence, the death penalty, media violence, and other controversial issues for the educational nonprofit ProCon.org.
Learn more about student opportunities with the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management (PCJ) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).
"There are great opportunities to improve the effectiveness of social services, and the conference inspired me to rethink how I view support and outreach programs with hopes of doing more research on this topic in the future." - Nick Wilson, MPP candidate
Pictured above is David Kennedy, South Bend Mayor and Pete Buttigieg, Harvard alumnus and former president of the Institute of Politics, along with other criminal justice and community leaders from South Bend and Crime Prevention and Control at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice for a course on the Gun Violence Initiative.