Gun Violence Expert Addresses Mayors' Conference

Phil Cook, ITT/Terry Sanford Professor of Public Policy, was an invited speaker March 3 at the Jacksonville, Fla., conference of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which focused on the economic impact of gun violence. In an interview with the Florida Times-Union, Cook discussed how gun violence diminishes the quality of life in a city, creating an atmosphere of fear and lowering property values.

Cook, whose book Gun Violence: The Real Costs documented the broad societal impact of gun violence, also spoke Feb. 13 at the coalition’s meeting in Baltimore, and previously at the coalition’s southern regional conference in Atlanta on Nov. 30, 2006, where the discussion focused on regional data sharing. His involvement with Mayors Against Illegal Guns led Cook to write a new paper, “Assessing Urban Crime and Its Control: an Overview.”  Published as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research in February, the paper examines trends in urban crime and police effectiveness.

“Gun violence is concentrated in cities, but the legislation on guns is at the state and federal level.” said Cook. “This group is looking for innovative ways address cities’ interests in reducing gun violence.”

Mayors Against Illegal Guns was started in 2006 by mayors Michael Bloomberg of New York City and Thomas M. Menino of Boston, and is dedicated to making American cities safer from illegal guns. In less than two years, the membership has grown to almost 300 mayors in 40 states.