The Impact of the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) on City-Level Youth Crime Victimization Rates

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Anthony Petrosino
Herbert Turner
Thomas Hanson
Trevor Fronius
Patricia Campie
Cailean Cooke


Background: The physical, emotional, and financial costs resulting from youth violence are well documented.

Purpose: This article summarizes the results of a quasi-experimental evaluation study to test a youth violence intervention program in eleven cities in Massachusetts.

Setting: In 2011, Massachusetts initiated the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI), which provides a comprehensive public health approach for young men believed to be at “proven risk” for being involved with firearms.

Intervention: The SSYI program components include: (1) Specific identification of young men, ages 14-24, at highest risk for being involved in firearms violence; (2) Use of street outreach workers to find these young men, assess their needs, and act as brokers for services; (3) The provision of a continuum of comprehensive services including education, employment, and intensive supervision. Eleven cities with the highest count of violent offenses reported to the police in 2010 were selected for SSYI funding in 2011 and began implementing the program.

Research Design:  Short-interrupted time series design with a comparison group. The observed and predicted trends in monthly violent victimization rates for the 11 SSYI cities were compared to the next 23 cities (as they ranked in reported violent crime in 2010).

Data Collection and Analysis: Using police incident data, researchers examined SSYI's impact on monthly city level violent crime, aggravated assault and homicide rates for persons ages 14-24.

Findings: Results indicated that SSYI had a statistically significant and positive impact on reducing the number of victims of violent crimes, aggravated assaults, and homicides per month that were reported to the police.  A city with SSYI has approximately 60 fewer victims of violence each year, ages 14-24, per 100,000 citizens over the post-intervention period.

Keywords: quasi-experiment; interrupted time series; crime prevention; violence; Massachusetts


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How to Cite
Petrosino, A., Turner, H., Hanson, T., Fronius, T., Campie, P., & Cooke, C. (2017). The Impact of the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) on City-Level Youth Crime Victimization Rates. Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 13(29), 8–15. Retrieved from
Author Biographies

Anthony Petrosino, WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center

Anthony Petrosino is Director of the Justice & Prevention Research Center, Senior Scientist in the Learning Innovations Program at WestEd, and Senior Research Fellow at the George Mason University Center for Evidence-based Crime Policy.

Herbert Turner, Analytica, Inc.

Herbert Turner is Founder and Senior Scientist of Analytica, Inc.

Thomas Hanson, WestEd Health & Human Development Program

Thomas Hanson is Senior Research Associate with the Health & Human Development Program at WestEd.

Trevor Fronius, WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center

Trevor Fronius is a Senior Research Associate with the Justice & Prevention Research Center at WestEd, and a Ph.D. student in criminal justice at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Patricia Campie, American Institutes for Research

Patricia Campie is Principal Researcher with the American Institutes for Research.

Cailean Cooke, WestEd

Cailean Cooke is a Research Associate with WestEd and a doctoral student in education at Stanford University.