S.O.S. (Crown Heights)

soslogo_chThe Center for Court Innovation (CCI) advocates criminal justice reforms designed to reduce crime and improve public trust in the justice system. It oversees a number of programs, including Save Our Streets (S.O.S.), an anti-gun violence program based on the Cure Violence Model of prevention. (Read about the program on Vice news.)

The S.O.S. program at the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center is one of the oldest and most successful Cure Violence affiliates in New York City. It works in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Prior to the opening of S.O.S., the Mediation Center played a key role in dissolving community tensions in the aftermath of the 1991 Crown Heights riots. The Center also provides programming to address the trauma boys and men of color experience as a result of violence. More recently, the Center convened the one-day conference, Paving the Way to Healing and Recovery: Conversations with Young Men of Color Who Survive Violence, in partnership with the Vera Institute initiative, Common Justice.

SOS March (3504x2336)For the S.O.S. program, teams of outreach workers, violence interrupters, hospital responders, and their supervisors collaborate to reduce violence and to change public attitudes. Staff members are involved in the local community and engaged in variety of activities, including confict mediations, public messaging campaigns, and community mobilization events. They work closely with local organizations, faith leaders, public officials and businesses in addition to those participating directly in S.O.S. programming. Through its work with these entities, the program provides mentorship and counseling, direct mediations of brewing conflicts, and helps to focus community protests against gun violence.

coverimage_ccicrownheightsstudyIn 2013, the Center for Court Innovation published an evaluation of the S.O.S. program in Crown Heights. According to the study, gun violence decreased in program areas during the intervention period while increasing in comparative neighborhoods, and the difference in these trends was statistically significant. The fact that gun crime appeared to decline in the intervention area while not declining elsewhere was seen as a promising result, especially when coupled with the fact that Brooklyn as a whole saw increases in shootings during the same time.

Program Particulars

Host Organization: Center for Court Innovation / Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Program: Save Our Streets (S.O.S) Crown-Heights
Established: 2010
Contact: chmcblog@gmail.com
Website: crownheights.org
Implementation: Full
Staff: Supervisors (1); Outreach Workers (4); Violence Interrupters (3); Hospital Responders (1)
NYPD Precinct(s): 77th
City Council Member District(s): Robert Cornegy (36)
Adult residents living in poverty: 23%
Residents 15-34 years of age: 31%
NYCHA Communities: Albany and Weeksville Gardens
Wrap-Around Service Partners: Brownsville Community Justice Center, CUNY Creative Arts Team, Harlem Mothers Save, Kings County Hospital Behavioral Services, Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School, Legal Aid Society, SOS CAN, The Animation Project