De Blasio Administration, City Council Expand Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence, Launch Gun Violence Crisis Management System In 4 Bronx Precincts

Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced the expansion of the City’s efforts to reduce gun violence, through the creation of the “Gun Violence Crisis Management System,” a citywide initiative to reduce gun violence, from five to 14 precincts accounting for 51 percent of shootings across the city. The new initiative expands on a previous system that includes and is centered around the “cure violence” model and now includes “wrap around” services, programs that respond to meet the needs of every spectrum in the community that is impacted by gun violence. This new strategy employs evidence-based community interventions, anti-violence messaging, and support services in areas with high rates of gun violence, and will be driven by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Departments of Education, Health and Mental Hygiene, Probation and Youth and Community Development, and the City University of New York. The Mayor and Speaker were joined by Council members, administration officials, along with advocates at today’s announcement.

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With today’s expansion, cure violence will reach the following Bronx precincts: South Bronx (40th Precinct); East Concourse-Concourse Village, Bronx (44th Precinct); University Heights-Morris Heights, Bronx (46th Precinct); and the Eastchester-Edenwald-Baychester Community, Bronx (47th Precinct).

The cure violence model, an evidence-based public health approach, identifies and engages individuals most likely to be involved in gun violence and deploys interventions aimed at curbing that behavior before it occurs, including retaliatory shootings. The project employs “violence interrupters,” typically former gang members who have turned their lives around, to quell street disputes—intervening before escalation to gun violence—and links potential shooters to case management and supportive services.

“What started out as a City Council pilot program in five high-need communities in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island, has now been expanded to provide comprehensive violence prevention and de-escalation services in 10 more at-risk neighborhoods,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who represents the South Bronx as well as East Harlem. “By focusing on the communities with the highest levels of shootings and working with those at-risk for committing violence, the City’s Crisis Management System will be able to prevent shootings before they happen and help save lives. I thank the de Blasio administration for partnering with the Council on this important initiative to make our city even safer and for their continued efforts to permanently eradicate gun violence in our city.”

This $12.7 million initiative—funded jointly by the de Blasio administration and the City Council—expands the cure violence system and will bring together six City agencies to support:

  • Creation of an organization to oversee the City’s efforts, chaired by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, that will include City agencies and providers to ensure coordination of programming and services; and continued support of research to ensure program effectiveness and accountability.
  • Expansion and addition of “wrap around,” community-based preventive services, such as job training, mental health and legal services, which will increase the likelihood of long-term violence reduction.
  • Establishment of school-based conflict mediation and anti-violence programs, including the Match program, which provides daily tutoring in Algebra to high school students, and which random-control trials have demonstrated reduction in violence by 44 percent—while improving academic performance by three grades.
  • Establishment of an anti-violence program training academy to train neighborhood-based anti-gun violence providers to ensure consistency and fidelity to the effective models of community based anti-violence work.
  • Development of community messaging and educational materials to reinforce community norms against gun violence, similar to successful campaigns promoting seatbelt use and against smoking.

Yesterday’s announcement came on the heels of on the addition of 100 Summer Youth Employment jobs for young people engaged in the cure violence program, and builds on the work of the City Council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, and the resulting $4.8 million initiative launched by the Council the South Bronx  as well as communities in other boroughs.

Three other affected Bronx legislators weighed in:

“We welcome this great news, because when it comes down to public safety anything that can be done is significant. This initiative is indeed complementary to our current efforts to scale down crime. Enabling community organizations by bringing in resources to offer intensive services is an integral approach to reduce gun violence,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera, Co-chair of the Task Force to Combat Gun Violence.

“I am proud that we, as a council, have been able to put more funding in place to help prevent gun violence and expand resources in the communities that need this critical support. However, the reality of gun violence saddens me, and I live for the day when we’ll only need to implement funding for programs that enrich and enhance us as a people as opposed to fighting crime,” said Council Member Andy King.

“Supporting a range of creative strategies that will make our streets and communities safer for New Yorkers throughout our City, this year we have been successful in funding a record number of anti-gun violence initiatives covering 18 communities and increasing the City’s financial commitment by more than 250 percent, to $12 million,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee. “This unprecedented level of support includes a $1 million commitment for the 44th Precinct and funding for anti-gun violence initiatives in the 42nd Precinct, my Bronx district as well. This will make our community safer for thousands of New York’s families, and I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and my Council colleagues for their support.”

 

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