Center for Court Innovation - According to new research from the Center for Court Innovation, the average monthly shooting rates in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where the anti-violence project Save Our Streets operates, decreased by six percent from early 2010 through 2011. In surrounding areas shooting rates increased by 18 to 28 percent. When compared with the upward trend in the surrounding precincts, the research suggests that gun violence in Crown Heights was 20 percent lower than what it would have been without Save Our Streets.
Save Our Streets is based on the Cure Violence model (formerly known as Chicago Ceasefire), which treats outbreaks of violence like epidemics of disease. Rather than traditional crime control methods, the Cure Violence model takes a public health approach similar to campaigns that have addressed other risky behaviors such as smoking and seatbelt use.
To prevent gun crime, “violence interrupters”—individuals with a direct knowledge of the streets who have gotten their lives back on track—work to break the cycle of violence and retaliation by interrupting volatile situations before people get hurt.
“Violence interrupters cool off heated conflicts by providing on-the-spot mediations in the street,” explained Amy Ellenbogen, who oversees Save Our Streets. “Violence interrupters are trained in special mediation techniques, and they use their knowledge of the consequences of violence—which often comes from personal experience—to calm dangerous situations.”
“When somebody gets shot, they go out and speak to the family and the kids involved,” said Saekuan Allah, a community activist in Crown Heights. “They put a cap on it to not blow the violence out of proportion."