Timothy Washington success story
as told to Jonathon Schaff (Groupon staff writer)
One hundred and forty nine.
That’s the number of consecutive days New York’s 75th Precinct—a 12-block swath of Brooklyn’s notoriously dangerous East New York neighborhood—has gone without a shooting. The pride of those accumulated days of peace resonates deeply within Tim Washington’s low, steady voice. Tim, 27, is an outreach worker for Cure Violence, and he has played his part in turning the neighborhood around. It’s his neighborhood, the same one he grew up in. “Everybody used to go into their houses at six or seven o’clock,” Tim says. “Now people are able to come back outside with their kids.”
Tim oversees a caseload of 15 at-risk participants in the community, checking in on them from time to time and making himself available should problems arise. But it’s important to remember that Cure Violence doesn’t work like a light switch that’s able to turn violence from “On” to “Off” with the flip of a switch. 149 days of no shootings or killings in East New York doesn’t happen without it’s fair share of close calls.
Tim has lived through a series of close calls. He remembers one evening particularly well. A member of his caseload called him up because, in Tim’s words, “he wanted to violently hurt someone.” The issue may have been gang related. But before the phone call had even ended, Tim was already on his way over to pick him up in his car. They drove around town all night, processing feelings and digesting the situation until the man had calmed down enough to go home. Crisis was averted. But Tim wonders what would have happened if he’d been unable to answer the phone call that day.
– Jonathon Schaff