Community Safety Leadership Academies

About the CSLA

American cities are facing a crisis in safety. In 2020, America saw the largest rise in murders in 50 years. At least 12 major U.S. cities set homicide records. This surge in gun violence has exacerbated pre- existing public safety gaps experienced by many Black and Brown communities, and in some neighborhoods, it has erased the progress made in reducing gun violence since it peaked in the 1990s.

Closing this safety gap – and achieving more equitable and effective community safety – will require long-term, sustained investments to improve education, reduce poverty, and eliminate segregation. But in the short-term, the urgent day-to-day work of saving lives falls primarily to two sectors of front-line first responders that work tirelessly to shoulder the full load: police and community violence intervention (CVI) organizations. Unfortunately, for different reasons neither institution has been able to capitalize on advances in data-driven management practices that have transformed many other sectors; as a result, neither have been able to deliver as much social good per dollar spent as our cities need.

In response, we are launching the University of Chicago Community Safety Leadership Academies (CSLA).The CSLA will offer first-of-their kind programs to train the next generation of policing and CVI leaders from across America – with the goal of having national impact – and will be rigorously evaluated. This effort brings together data and behavioral science insights of top academics at one of the world’s leading research institutions and our nation’s leading practitioners who have a demonstrated track record of real-world success. Housed at the University of Chicago, the Academies will run simultaneously and with complementary curricula, with a goal to be the most impactful and robustly evaluated public safety training ever offered in the United States.

For more information on the University of Chicago Crime Lab’s research on the importance of management and leadership for community safety, please see the recent study by Max Kapustin of Cornell University, Terry Neumann of the University of Texas at Austin, and Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago. 

More information on the CSLA will be shared at a later date. 

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