The Trace — There Are Only Two City-Funded Violence Prevention Sites Tackling Surging Violence in Upper Manhattan

Violence interrupters work in their own communities, guiding their friends and neighbors away from dangerous encounters. Extending that care to other neighborhoods depends on more funding.

November 8, 2021

… Those who work in community-based violence prevention say even one life saved is a success, but there is also evidence that the Cure Violence model works more broadly. Studies conducted of two CMS sites by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Research and Evaluation Center found that, in addition to a decline in shootings over two years, trust in law enforcement increased, and fewer people turned to violence.

“Over time, attitudes did change, especially in the Cure Violence neighborhoods,” said Sheyla Delgado, a researcher at John Jay who has coauthored several CMS studies. These are time-consuming, challenging, and expensive to do, Delgado said. “So they’re not often funded.”

… The strategy seems to work best when you have a consistent stream of funding, without any gaps, and I think the city of New York, over the past eight years, has increasingly been great at providing that consistent line of funding,” Delgado said. Researchers, she added, often ask organizations if they have enough staffers to handle the violence, and their answers vary based on their funding and catchment areas. Simply replicating the resources and staffing of SAVE Harlem might not meet the needs of another neighborhood. “We need to dig in more into why is it so different,” she said. “What is enough?”.

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Omar Mims (far right) and others with SAVE Harlem stand outside George Washington Houses while wearing shirts that say, “Stop shooting! Start Living!” Courtesy SAVE Harlem