skip to main content
Article Podcast Report Summary Quick Look Video Newsfeed triangle plus sign dropdown arrow Case Study All Search Facebook LinkedIn YouTube
Download full report


Retaliatory violent disputes are not a new phenomenon. In the United States, arguments are well known as the most frequent cause of homicide.

A violent retaliatory dispute is:

  • An interaction involving conflict
  • Over a period of time
  • Between two or more individuals and/or people associated with them
  • Marked by two or more events involving confrontation or intimidation
  • In which at least some of those events involve violent acts or credible threats of violence

Violent disputes that play out over a long time, involving multiple events and acts of retaliation, offer police opportunities to identify the dispute and then execute an appropriate response.

In some instances, if police had known about the initial dispute and identified it as a likely candidate for retaliation, they would have had time to intervene with place-, victim- or offender-based interventions, even if the specific nature of the dispute was unknown.


  • Retaliatory violent disputes have several distinctive qualities that have implications for intervention:
  • The existence of a long-standing and escalating dispute between individuals or groups of people
  • Disputants who have criminal records and are on probation or parole, or have active warrants when the violent incident occurs
  • A precipitating event (such as when gunshots are fired) involving a police response
  • Some time between the initial dispute and the violent incident, during which the department can intervene
Download full report


  • Pages:
  • Document Number:
  • Publication Date: 12/8/2020