Investigating the Effectiveness of a Media Campaign to Curb Felons Carrying Firearms: Results from Operation "CEASEFIRE"

Alexander M. Holsinger, University of Missouri - Kansas City
Eve Jensen, University of Missouri - Kansas City
Kenneth J. Novak, University of Missouri - Kansas City

Operation CEASEFIRE is a mass media campaign currently being implemented in a large Midwestern metropolitan area. The advertisements associated with Operation CEASEFIRE are designed to disseminate information regarding new legislation. The legislation in question greatly increases the penalties for convicted felons who are found to be in possession of firearms in the community. Specifically, the legislation requires a mandatory minimum five-year sentence to Federal prison for felons who are convicted of carrying a firearm at any time. Operation CEASEFIRE, while having some unique characteristics is very similar to other media campaigns promoting very similar legislation in other metropolitan areas in the United States. The current research utilizes data from surveys of citizens within the community under consideration, as well as surveys of probationers and parolees in the same community. Comparisons are made between the awareness levels of the general citizenry as well as the true 'target' population of CEASEFIRE. The significant correlates of awareness and its impact on behavior are identified. Discussion will also include the status of the analysis of official data that will be used to determine the true deterrent effect of the media campaign amongst the felony population.

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Updated 05/20/2006