East New York is beyond the group of Brooklyn communities where working-class neighborhoods evolved into wealthy communities. It was, and remains, tormented by poverty, and one in four inhabitants live at, or under, the poverty level.
Excessive lack in East New York has been a showcase for brutality. In 1993, the 75th Precinct of the NYPD logged over 125 murders — one-fifth Brooklyn’s total. East New York was regularly seen as the most dangerous appointment in the city.
The stigma associated to East New York made it a point where persons did not feel safe to work and visit.
“The times are a changing,” according to Bob Dylan. Violent crime is dropping in Brooklyn and the remainder of the city. Police administrators and Mayor Bill de Blasio say part of the change is because of a program molded on the long-standing Cure Violence drive.
Often called ‘gang interrupters,’ Cure Violence works to stop violence before it begins and move young persons apart from gangs. “It doesn’t receive a lot of recognition, but grassroots efforts have promoted safety,” de Blasio announced to reporters recently.
The program was established in Chicago twenty-years ago to reduce murders and other violent crime. At its center is the cessation of brutality by workers who intercede in conflicts. Groups in the city, such as Harlem-based Street Corner Resources, shadow the Illinois example.
For ten years, Man Up! Incorporated in New York has been using the Cure Violence model and a network of several dozen programs are granted over $22 million in funding, coordination from de Blasio’s desk and assistance from police agencies. Injecting money and human resources is paying off. Over one-thousand days have passed without a deadly firearm shooting where Where Man Up is active.
How Does The Program Work?
Young people previously involved in street crime are selected to be violence interrupters. The young person’s experiences provide them the “street cred” to ease strains among belligerents.
The program is multi-faceted. As well as violence interrupters, other individuals combine with victims of brutality and coordinate the efforts. School-based mentors in three-dozen schools act with teens to help strengthen conflict resolution abilities. The plan involves a job-training ingredient to move teens from street violence into the workplace.
John Jay College will release in the fall of 2017 a detailed study of New York’s Cure Violence program. The report will provide more concrete figures of the program’s impact. Meanwhile, city officials are hopeful the program will continue to push crime rates even lower.