The 1980s witnessed an extraordinary increase in community violence in most major cities across the United States. In 1990 the homicide rate in Boston increased by 45% over the previous year; in Denver, by 29%; in Chicago, Dallas, and New Orleans, by more than 20%; in Los Angeles, by 16%; in New York, by 11%. In Washington, DC, which has the highest per capita homicide rate in the country, the 1990 murder rate set an all time record in the District's history (Escobar 1991). Across the country, 1 out of 5 teenage and young adult deaths was gun related in 1988 - the first year in which firearm death rates for both Black and White teenagers exceeded the total for all natural causes of death combined. Also in 1988, the firearm homicide rate for young Black males increased by 35%, and Black male teens were 11 times more likely than their White counterparts to be killed by guns (Christofel 1990).