The Office to Prevent Gun Violence
New York City has the lowest incidence of gun violence of any major U.S. city. In 2017, the City witnessed the fewest shootings in over 50 years. Driving gun violence down further will require strategies that include traditional law enforcement, and engaging residents and neighborhoods as partners. The Office to Prevent Gun Violence (OPGV), launched by Mayor de Blasio in February 2017, serves as the backbone of these innovative efforts.
The Office to Prevent Gun Violence coordinates relevant City initiatives, amplifies community-based intervention and prevention services, and introduces technological solutions. Thus far, OPGV has pursued the following strategies:
An evidence-based public health approach to reducing gun violence: The “Cure Violence” model 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 supportive services.
Crisis Management System network: The Office to Prevent Gun Violence serves as the lead oversight of the Crisis Management System (CMS), a citywide network that includes government and city agency partners, community-based organizations, clergy and resident stakeholders strategically aligned to deploy violence intervention and prevention resources, and trauma reduction services in 17 communities that experience upwards of 50 percent of NYC shooting incidents.
Helping neighborhoods rebuild after takedowns: The days immediately following a “takedown” or other major law enforcement action can be volatile, and helping a neighborhood stabilize can be a critical step in ensuring that violence is not repeated. The Office to Prevent Gun Violence is partnering with the NYPD to pursue a post-takedown engagement strategy that connects people to immediate resources, deters youth from re-establishing crew or gang networks and educates community on public safety best practices.
Public Safety Coalition: The Coalition serves as the liaison between the police, community, clergy and congregation in promoting healthy neighborhoods while minimizing crime, and reviving activism within the community.
Community Toolkit and Safe in the City grants: The Safe in the City Grant offers funding opportunities to support community-based activities that will make neighborhoods safer. Applicants will also receive best practices prevention, intervention and trauma response methods from the MOCJ Public Safety Toolkit.
Increase pathways to opportunity for youth:
- The Office to Prevent Gun Violence sits on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Transformative Mentoring at the New School and sponsors 25 students each summer to learn restorative justice practices. These skills help students support participants and community members they often engage with daily.
- The Anti-Gun Violence Employment Program focuses on increasing employment opportunities for participants and/or youth in the community who are at risk of perpetrating or being victimized by violence.
- The City created a shooting incident location map, updated with real-time information from NYPD’s Patrol Bureau. This data is shared with service providers so they can coordinate community-based responses to prevent gun violence.
- The Office to Prevent Gun Violence has partnered with researchers Anthony Braga, Rod Brunson and Rutgers University Ph.D. candidates to conduct a “Healthy Neighborhood Study”. This multifaceted effort seeks to conduct research of illicit firearms transactions in New York City and determine how to best disrupt them.