• Drug Market Intervention

    The Drug Market Intervention (DMI) eliminates overt drug markets by bringing together community leaders, law enforcement, and service providers with street-level drug dealers and their families to make it clear that the dealing must stop.

About the Strategy
Tools & Guides

The Drug Market Intervention (DMI) is an effective approach for eliminating “overt” drug markets and improving life for residents of the surrounding communities. Overt drug markets operate in public, whether indoors or outdoors, and make it possible for non-community members to enter and buy drugs without knowing anybody. They are chaotic, violent, and do enormous damage to the community.

DMI, which was first piloted in 2004 in High Point, North Carolina, identifies particular drug markets, identifies street-level dealers, arrests violent offenders, creates "banked" cases - or suspends prosecution - for nonviolent dealers, and brings together drug dealers, their families, law enforcement officials, service providers, and community leaders for a call-in meeting that makes clear that selling drugs openly must stop. The strategy also includes a critical process of racial reconciliation to address historical conflict between law enforcement and communities of color.

Since 2004, dozens of cities around the country have implemented the DMI strategy. In many of these cities, the targeted drug markets have closed, and there have been large reductions in violent and drug-related crime. Cities have attained these outcomes in a way that minimizes the use of law enforcement, gains powerful endorsement from the community, and maximizes the chances that dealers will be rehabilitated. Most important, in many sites the strategy has resulted in a fundamentally new understanding and relationship between law enforcement and the affected community.

The National Network produced Drug Market Intervention: An Implementation Guide, to be published by COPS Office in 2014, to provide a practical tool for stakeholders seeking to implement DMI in their jurisdictions.

Drug Market Intervention: An Implementation Guide

The guide to the Drug Market Intervention provides practical information intended to help law enforcement, community, and social services partners prepare and successfully execute DMI to close overt drug markets.

The High Point Drug Market Intervention Strategy (2009)

This publication sets out the compelling story of High Point’s original Drug Market Intervention work and describes how the intervention was successfully duplicated in Providence, Rhode Island.

Drug Market Strategy: Basic Implementation Steps

A 9-step outline of the fundamental work and partnerships involved in the strategy.

Practice Brief: Keeping Drug Markets Closed--The High Point Protocol

Since pioneering the Drug Market Intervention in 2004, the city of High Point, NC has developed a protocol to ensure that the five street drug markets it successfully shut down stay closed. This paper summarizes the key componentens of its maintenance protocol.

Practice Brief: Norms, Narrative and Community Engagement for Crime Prevention (Community Moral Voice)

The norms and narratives held by offenders and potential offenders; communities; and law enforcement have tremendous impact on crime and crime prevention, how each party views the others, and their actions; and their willingness to work together. This paper addresses the practical aspects of addressing and even changing norms and narratives in crime prevention.

Pulling Levers Focused Deterrence Strategies to Prevent Crime

This paper briefly reviews the research on the crime control effectiveness of "pulling levers" focused deterrence programs. Focused deterrence strategies honor core deterrence ideas, such as increasing risks faced by offenders, while finding new and creative ways of deploying traditional and non-traditional law enforcement tools to do so, such as communicating incentives and disincentives directly to targeted offenders.

These evaluation designs permit the clearest assessment of “cause and effect” in determining whether hot spots policing programs prevent crime. These designs examine pre- and post-program measurement of crime outcomes in targeted locations relative to “control” locations.  The control groups in the identified hot spots evaluations received routine levels of traditional police enforcement tactics. The deterrence message was a promise to gang members that violent behavior would evoke an immediate and intense response from law enforcement.

The Effects of “Pulling Levers” Focused Deterrence Strategies on Crime

This report is a meta-analysis that evaluates impact on homicide and violence in a variety of cities that have implemented our Group Violence Intervention or the Drug Market Intervention.

Reclaiming the Streets, Healing the Community (2010)

Practice Brief: Norms, Narratives, and Community Engagement for Crime Prevention (2010)

This practice brief by David Kennedy provides concrete guidance for addressing “norms and narratives” held by offenders and potential offenders, communities, and law enforcement that have been found to have tremendous impact on crime and crime prevention, how each party views the others and their actions, and their willingness to work together.

Disrupting Open Air Drug Markets (2009)

This PowerPoint presentation, by Dr. Nicholas Corsaro et al., provides an overview of the focused-deterrence model, how the National Network’s drug market strategy fits into this model, and offers details of an evaluation of the drug market intervention implemented in Rockford, IL and of other related work.

Bureau of Justice Assistance – Drug Market Intervention: Implementation Guide and Lessons Learned (2009)

This implementation and lessons-learned guide is organized by the nine basic steps for implementing the Drug Market Intervention Initiative (see Basic Implementation Guide). Within each step there are suggestions for implementing the step as well as common questions and issues to discuss with possible responses to the questions. These suggestions were culled from the initial rounds of DMI trainings where officials from High Point, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Providence, Rockford, Hempstead and Nashville served as faculty and offered the advice described within this document.

Seattle Drug Market Initiative (2009)

This brief summary outlines Seattle’s initiative to address street level drug dealing in residential neighborhoods. Used as a tool to inform neighborhood residents and members of the public about the goals of the initiative, it explains how the effort differs from traditional police/prosecutor undercover narcotics operations.

Drugs, Race and Common Ground: Reflections on the High Point Intervention (2008)

This article is based on remarks delivered by National Network co-chair David Kennedy at the 2008 National Institute of Justice conference, setting out the key elements of the High Point drug market intervention. It also provides information on how this model evolved out of the original Ceasefire intervention in Boston, which combined problem-oriented policing with collaboration between law enforcement and community stakeholders. 

East Nashville Intervention Project (2008)

This PowerPoint presentation, by Robert Nash, Commander of the East Precinct of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, provides an overview of the overt drug market strategy as implemented in the city’s North 2nd Street neighborhood. A detailed process and impact assessment of the Nashville strategy by Corsaro, Brunson & McGarell is forthcoming.

Best, M (2009) Model Police WorkUNCG Research, (7) 8-15

Corsaro, N., Hunt, E.D., Kroovand Hipple, N., McGarrell, E. (2012). The Impact of Drug Market Pulling Levers Policing on Neighborhood ViolenceCriminology & Public Policy. Vol. 11, Issue 2.

Corsaro, N., Brunson, R.K., McGarrell, E.F. (2009). Problem-Oriented Policing and Open-Air Drug Markets: Examining the Rockford Pulling Levers Deterrence StrategyCrime & Delinquency

Corsaro, N., McGarrell, E.F. (2009). An Evaluation of the Nashville Drug Market Initiative (DMI) Pulling Levers Strategy. Drug Market Intervention Working Paper. East Lansing, MA: Michigan State University

Hipple, N.K., Corsaro, N., McGarrell, E. F (2010). The High Point Drug Market Initiative: A Process and Impact Assessment. East Lansing, MA: Michigan State University 

Kennedy, D. M. (2009, March). Drugs, Race and Common Ground: Reflections on the High Point Intervention.National Institute of Justice Journal, No. 262.

Kennedy, D.M. (2008). Deterrence and Crime Prevention: Reconsidering the Prospect of Sanction. NY: Routledge - Chapter 9

McGarrell, E. F., Corsaro, N., Brunson, R..K. (2010). The Drug Market Intervention Approach to Overt Drug MarketsVARSTVOSLOVJE, Journal of Criminal Justice and Security. Year 12 No. 4. pp. 397-407

Meares, T. L.(2009). The Legitimacy of Police Among Young African-American Men. Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 528.



reduction in Part 1 UCR crime in 3 out of 4 DMI neighborhoods

High Point


reduction in drug offenses



reduction in non-violent offenses



reduction in drug offenses in all 4 neighborhoods

High Point

News & Updates

Bipartisan Summit: Mass Incarceration in America: Assessing the Costs & Human Impacts

April 2015  |  Dream Corps  

David Kennedy spoke on this panel, entitled Mass Incarceration in America: Assessing the Costs & Human Impacts, at the historic Bipartisan Summit for Criminal Justice Reform in March.For more information, visit http://www.bipartisansummit.org/.

Tags: Drug Market InterventionGroup Violence Intervention Racial Reconciliation

Up to 35 targeted offenders receiving services from Don’t Shoot

February 2015  |  Central Illinois Proud  

In two years of partnership with the National Network, the Don’t Shoot Peoria initiative has brought an overall drop in violent crime. In February, Peoria held its’ sixth call-in meeting delivering a community anti-violence message. Since Peoria’s first call-in, over 200 offenders have reached out for services. Community services coordinator Krista Coleman says up to 35 of the offenders have stayed engaged and connected to the resources provided, helping to support and sustain life off the streets.

Tags: Peoria Drug Market InterventionGroup Violence Intervention

The Police-Community Divide

December 2014  |  WNYC  

David Kennedy joined WNYC's Brian Lehrer show's family meeting on race and justice to speak about the DOJ National Initiative and community's role in resetting and reshaping everyday encounters between law enforcement and the community. "Yes, this is about race--but more importantly, it's about relationships," says Kennedy. 

Tags: Drug Market InterventionGroup Violence Intervention Racial Reconciliation

Neighborhood sees change after APD’s Drug Market Intervention program

October 2014  |  KXAN  

A neighborhood in East Austin notorious for crime, prostitution and drug-dealing, is looking a lot different these days, partly due to APD's Drug Market Intervention launched 2 years ago.

Tags: Austin Drug Market Intervention Racial Reconciliation

Baltimore Police Seize $3M Worth Of Drugs, Cash In Operation Ceasefire Bust

September 2014  |  Baltimore CBS Local  

As part of Baltimore's Operation Ceasefire, Baltimore PD made a drug bust netting $3 million in heroin and cash–all from one suspect who had recently attended an Operation Ceasefire call-in.As part of Baltimore's Operation Ceasefire.

Tags: Baltimore Drug Market InterventionGroup Violence Intervention

Message Getting Across in Sixth Peoria Don’t Shoot Call-In

August 2014  |  Central Illinois Proud  

Don't Shoot in Peoria held it's sixth call-in with group members, and the dedicated community members involved in the strategy believe the message is getting across. 

Tags: Peoria Drug Market InterventionGroup Violence Intervention

Drug Market Intervention Heroin Dealer Sentenced

April 2014  |  Huntington News  

A heroin dealer from Charleston, SC engaged by the city's DMI partnership faces swift consequences when he continues to sell drugs in the overt market in nearby Huntington, WV. 

Tags: CharlestonHuntington Drug Market Intervention

Federal Prosecutor Tries A Radical Tactic In The Drug War: Not Throwing People In Prison

February 2014  |  Huffington Post  

U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles is pursuing a bold new approach to the “war on drugs” in South Carolina. 

Tags: AikenCharlestonHigh Point Drug Market Intervention Racial Reconciliation

High Point, NC Fight Crime Family Intervention Style

January 2014  |  WAMC NPR  

A few years ago, High Point had one of the highest violent crime rates in the state. In 2004, the city reconfigured a plan called Operation Ceasefire to fit it's drug market intervention strategy and saw dramatic results, including a 64 percent decrease in violent crime. NPR's Celeste Headlee interviews Chief of Police Marty Sumner about how High Point is now expanding the plan to include strategies that deal with robberies and domestic violence, how they're helping other similarly sized cities as well as larger cities like Chicago deal with violent crime.

Tags: High Point Drug Market Intervention Domestic Violence InterventionRacial Reconciliation

New DMI Guide

The brand new guide to the Drug Market Intervention (DMI), published by the COPS Office at DOJ, provides practical information intended to help law enforcement, community, and social services partners prepare and successfully execute DMI to close overt drug markets.


Aiken, SC

Durham, NC

Huntington, WV

Indianapolis, IN


Mesa, AZ

Middletown, OH

Mineola, NY

Mount Vernon, NY

Nashville, TN

Ocala, FL

Rochester, NY

Rockford, IL

Rutland, VT

Sarasota, FL

Seattle, WA

Snow Hill, MD

White Plains, NY

Yonkers, NY