The Office to Prevent Gun Violence
Although gun violence has decreased to historically low levels in recent years, it remains a pervasive issue in small pockets of neighborhoods around New York City. The data shows that a limited number of communities have accounted for roughly 50% of NYC’s shooting incidents.
Traditionally, public safety within predominantly Black and Latino communities has been viewed solely as the responsibility of law enforcement partners. However, this strategy fails to address the continued social and economic disparities faced by members of these communities that are significant contributors to the violence they experience. Under the de Blasio administration, there has been an acknowledgment of these facts that have resulted in a shift to include and value more community-based and led approaches to the co-production of public safety efforts.
Research has shown that when individuals closest to the issues are an integral part of the development and implementation of solutions, legitimacy and sustained norm change is possible. Through the de Blasio administration’s investment in the data-driven, community-based strategies, these facts continue to be affirmed through the Office to Prevent Gun Violence (OPGV).
OPGV’s goals include:
- coordinating the City’s various anti-gun violence initiatives,
- amplifying community-based intervention and prevention services, and
- introducing technological solutions to prevent gun violence to create safe, empowered, and interconnected communities in New York City
OPGV’s mission is to transform the government’s approach to justice by supporting vibrant communities where residents are empowered to co-create public safety. OPGV accomplishes this using a multitude of different strategies, some of which include the following.
OPGV serves as a coordinating office, linking City initiatives, community-based non-profit organizations, and everyday New Yorkers in partnership to creating When compared to traditional municipal government, OPGV’s operation is unique as the office redefines community engagement and prioritizes true partnership with the people and organizations most affected by gun violence remains at the center of OPGV’s approach.
In 2014, the NYC Council and the de Blasio administration launched the NYC Crisis Management System (CMS). This initiative simultaneously operates across 22 communities citywide in neighborhoods significantly impacted by gun violence and provides violence intervention and support systems. CMS consists of more than 50 community-based organizations providing various services to support those at the highest risk.
OPGV ensures community-developed and led solutions and amplifies the voice, strength, and power that lies within. The programs and initiatives that highlight these efforts include:
- Public Safety Coalitions (PSCs) operate in both East Flatbush and Bushwick, serving as liaisons between the police and community residents by increasing the number of voices promoting healthy neighborhoods while minimizing crime and reviving activism within the community. The coalitions are currently being used as a model to promote safety and address issues within other communities across the City.
- Safe in the City Grants offer funding opportunities designed to support community-based actions and activities to make neighborhoods safer. In addition to funding, applicants receive best practices and strategies from the OPGV Public Safety Toolkit, further empowering them to employ prevention, intervention, and trauma response methods while amplifying the voice of the community to stand against violence and promote healthy, vibrant neighborhoods.
- OPGV’s six Mobile Trauma Units (MTU) provide immediate trauma responses and connections to resources in real-time across the City. The objective is to reduce and prevent shooting incidents and other acts of violence through swift, coordinated responses to immediate crisis incidents. Just as importantly, the MTU’s are a source of positive and peaceful energy while providing essential resources to the communities they serve.
- The Gun Violence Survivors Advisory Council is an integral component of enhancing the city’s response for gun violence survivors and their families. The council, which partners with OPGV, is comprised of gun violence survivors and advocates. Council members assist fellow survivors during the most challenging moments of their lives, providing recommendations to government agencies and community-based organization to ensure access and quality services for those most impacted by acts of gun violence.
OPGV currently focuses its programs and initiatives in the following communities:
• Central Harlem
• East Harlem
• Concourse Village
• Fordham Manor
• South Bronx
• University Heights
• Bedford Stuyvesant
• Coney Island
• Crown Heights
• East Flatbush
• East New York
• Fort Greene
• Far Rockaway
• South Jamaica
• North Shore, Staten Island