Cure Violence New York City, which interrupts the cycle of violence in East New York, Brooklyn, South Bronx, South Jamaica, Queens, and Manhattan, is currently undergoing an evaluation by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Temple University. The two organizations are working to replicate the practices of innovative programs like Cure Violence, that work to prevent and control violent crime.
Cure Violence ramped up efforts in New York City after the release of a 2012 report from the New York City Council Task Force to Combat Gun Violence that recommended the initiation of a multi-agency and multi-disciplinary “crisis management system” in select neighborhoods and population groups across New York. The goal of this approach was to provide an immediate, coordinated response to gun violence that aids in victim and community recovery while preventing future violence.
In this video released by the research team earlier this month, Program Manager, Grei Booker out of the South Jamaica, Queens site, shares with the researchers how the Cure Violence model interrupts the cycle of violence, focusing on the principle of harm reduction above all else.
For those of you not familiar with the concept of harm reduction, according to Wikipedia, harm reduction is used to manage negative behaviors to reduce harmful consequences. A couple examples that you might be familiar with are campaigns that encourage protected, safe sex among prostitutes to prevent the spread of HIV (but don’t discourage prostitution), and needle exchange programs made popular in cities like Seattle, WA, that provide clean needles to drug users in order to stop the spread of blood-borne pathogen transmissions without increasing drug use–but don’t focus on decreasing drug use.
As Grei alludes to, Cure Violence has single focus—reducing shootings and killings. For Cure Violence, this means meeting participants where they are at and focusing only on resolving the immediate conflict, without addressing some of the surrounding behavior that might contribute to their current situation (for example, not discouraging participants to get off drugs or out of gangs, but instead emphasizing the need to resolve a conflict without resorting to shooting or killing).
As new results from the New York City evaluation become available we’ll release them online, but in the meantime, read the full first year assessment reports by neighborhood which conclude that:
…as part of New York City’s “crisis management system,” the Cure Violence model and its founding principles–like harm reduction–provides a “new and promising model for them to resolve conflicts in their neighborhoods to prevent the escalation of violence:”
>> Read the conclusions: http://publicsafetyevidence.org/conclusions/
>> Learn more about Cure Violence South Jamaica: http://peaceisalifestyle.com/south-jamaica-cure-violence/