Imagine the trauma of scrubbing the blood of your loved one off the street. Billy Hippolyte’s sisters had to endure that last week.
Gun violence affects communities across the United States, and Canarsie is no exception. In recent years, our community has seen a disturbing trend of gun violence and innocent lives being lost. We can no longer afford to experience a shooting in our community and fail to take appropriate action. It is critical that we invest in community-centered solutions now to stem the tide of violence. We need a fully-funded Cure Violence site in Canarsie.
Cure Violence is a public health program that aims to reduce all forms of violence in communities. The program is based on the idea that violence behaves like an infectious disease and can be controlled using similar strategies. In New York City, Cure Violence programs fall within the Crisis Management System (CMS).
The Cure Violence program uses a three-pronged approach to reduce violence in communities. The first prong is to identify and intervene with individuals at the highest risk of committing or being a victim of violence. This is done by using trained “violence interrupters” who are often individuals from the community with street credibility and are able to mediate conflicts and prevent retaliation. The second prong is to change social norms around violence and promote alternatives. The third prong is to provide focused support for individuals at risk of committing a violent act. This includes providing job training, education and other opportunities.
Cure Violence programs work. According to data from the NYC Office to Prevent Gun Violence, there has been a 40% reduction in shootings across all areas with a CMS program present from 2010 to 2019. The following communities have a Cure Violence site: East Flatbush, Brownsville, East New York, Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Coney Island, Queensbridge, East Harlem, South Bronx and even the North Shore of Staten Island. Some neighborhoods have several organizations operating in their respective precincts.
City data shows the effectiveness of this program. It’s been expanded to multiple neighborhoods. The question remains: why has Canarsie been left out for so long?
An article by The New York Times titled “Once the ‘Killing Fields,’ East New York Has No Murders in 2018” cited the work of Andre T. Mitchell, the founder of ManUp! Inc., an organization involved with CMS. We need those results in Canarsie.
It took only 17 days for our neighborhood to experience a fatal shooting. What is in store this year if we fail to act? How many community members must we lose before we get a Cure Violence site? Canarsie needs an intervention.
Jibreel Jalloh is a community activist. He founded and runs a Canarsie-based advocacy organization which has fought for a range of investments; including anti-gun violence initiatives. You can learn more at theflossy.org and follow on social media @TheFlossyOrg.