The organization, Pennsylvania Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC), trains Philadelphia cops to empathize with inner-city youth. Its seminars aren’t a certain fix to rebuilding trust between police and the communities they serve, but data collected from DMC and other case studies around the country, suggest they are making a difference.
These types of meet-ups, which are formally known as “facilitated dialogue,” also appear to be associated with a drop in crime. After forums in a Boston public housing complex, violent crime in that neighborhood decreased substantially, dropping 31 percent between 2009 and 2010. Drug offenses also plunged 57 percent over a three-year period.
Sometimes, the payoff can be even greater. Ryan Rivera, a North Philly twenty-something who’s attended multiple DMC forums over the years, has a new life goal: “To become a Philadelphia police officer.”
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