Residents in NPU-V Look to Proven Model to Curb Violence

Posted April 25, 2019
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
A healing circle

Healing circle led by Chris 180, an Atlanta nonprofit

Com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers in Atlanta’s Neigh­bor­hood Plan­ning Unit V (NPU‑V) — com­prised of the Adair Park, Capi­tol Gate­way, Mechan­icsville, Peo­plestown, Pitts­burgh and Sum­mer­hill neigh­bor­hoods — are call­ing for funds to invest in curb­ing gun vio­lence in the community.

NPU‑V’s Com­mu­ni­ty Safe­ty Com­mit­tee — a vol­un­teer group with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Casey Foun­da­tion, the neigh­bor­hoods, local non­prof­its, health care providers, law enforce­ment agen­cies and oth­er stake­hold­ers — are seek­ing sup­port to imple­ment Cure Vio­lence, a pub­lic-health approach to address shootings.

Cure Vio­lence has worked inter­na­tion­al­ly and in major U.S. cities such as Bal­ti­more and Chicago.

NPU‑V res­i­dents are strong, resilient and want their neigh­bor­hoods to be safe,” says Natal­lie Keis­er, senior asso­ciate with Casey’s Atlanta Civic Site. Cure Vio­lence is a proven mod­el that can give com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers the oppor­tu­ni­ty to be peace­mak­ers and pro­vide path­ways out of violence.”

Because stud­ies show that shoot­ings tend to lead to more shoot­ings, Cure Vio­lence treats gun vio­lence much like a virus or oth­er pub­lic-health prob­lem: by stop­ping its spread from the start.

The mod­el has three components:

  1. Retal­i­a­tion pre­ven­tion. Loved ones or oth­er peo­ple with strong com­mu­ni­ty con­nec­tions — referred to as cred­i­ble mes­sen­gers” — coun­sel and sup­port shoot­ing vic­tims so they do not retaliate.
  2. Tar­get­ed inter­ven­tions. Loved ones and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers sup­port and coun­sel peo­ple iden­ti­fied as the most like­ly to com­mit vio­lence in their com­mu­ni­ties to steer them toward nonviolence.
  3. New norms. Through events, group coun­sel­ing and pub­lic edu­ca­tion, com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers work to change norms so that vio­lence isn’t viewed as an accept­able response to conflicts.

Lis­ten to a Cas­ey­Cast pod­cast episode with the cre­ator of Cure Violence

Shoot­ings touch too many lives in NPU‑V. Although the com­mu­ni­ty makes up only 4% of the city’s total pop­u­la­tion, near­ly 31% the city’s shoot­ing homi­cides occur in its boundaries.

This vio­lence means that res­i­dents are robbed of the tal­ents and gifts that shoot­ing vic­tims have to offer,” says Cindy Simp­son, vice pres­i­dent of Chris 180, which leads heal­ing cir­cles in NPU‑V for vic­tims of vio­lence and sup­ports bring­ing Cure Vio­lence to the com­mu­ni­ty. It also means that many res­i­dents don’t ful­ly use the community’s assets — its parks, busi­ness­es or oth­er com­mu­ni­ty spaces — out of fear they may become a vic­tim of crime.”

NPU‑V’s Com­mu­ni­ty Safe­ty Com­mit­tee has released an imple­men­ta­tion plan that calls for a group of fun­ders to iden­ti­fy a non­prof­it that would hire local peo­ple to respond to reports of shoot­ings in order to inter­vene and ensure retal­i­a­tion doesn’t occur.

These spe­cial­ists would also work with high-risk indi­vid­u­als to rein­force non­vi­o­lence and help them nav­i­gate their way to safe, pro­duc­tive lives. In addi­tion, they would lead work­shops and cam­paigns to change the community’s atti­tude toward vio­lence and col­lab­o­rate with var­i­ous stake­hold­ers — includ­ing law enforce­ment agen­cies, hos­pi­tals and var­i­ous non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions — to pro­tect the community.

To learn more about how to sup­port the project, con­tact Natal­lie Keis­er.

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