Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) seeks to end gun violence at the neighborhood level by changing local norms.
Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) seeks to end gun violence at the neighborhood level by changing local norms around violence and creating opportunities for meaningful educational and employment opportunities within the community.
The Center operates S.O.S. programs in Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, and the Bronx neighborhoods of the South Bronx (Mott Haven) and Morrisania. The core of the program consists of violence interrupters with first-hand knowledge of street and gang life who use their credibility and relationships to mediate conflicts before they escalate. In partnership with local organizations and faith leaders, S.O.S. holds frequent community events along with rapid responses to individual shootings, sending the message that the community will not tolerate violence.
The Bronx Community Justice Center works to create a safer, more equitable Bronx through community-driven public safety initiatives, youth opportunity, and economic mobility efforts focused in the South Bronx. Our vision is to support the South Bronx community to become a safe and thriving place where local ownership, community-led investment, and youth opportunity can flourish. The Bronx Community Justice Center works toward this vision by focusing on community safety, restorative practices, and youth and economic development.
Hurt people hurt people. That's not an excuse for harm, but it fuels much of the criminal justice system. At 19, Marlon Peterson was the unarmed lookout on a robbery where two people were killed. Peterson spent a decade behind bars. He writes about those years, and the childhood in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, that preceded them, in his new memoir. I made my own choices, Peterson says, “but I also did not choose to experience the type of things I experienced.”
The Rev. Kevin Jones is the faith-based organizer in Brooklyn for our Save Our Streets program, working to end gun violence at the neighborhood level by changing local norms. "The Rev," as he's known, has created a network of religious leaders of all faiths who share the “Stop Shooting, Start Living” message through community events and rapid responses to individual shootings.
The nation's first violence interruption model for preventing gun violence and conflict, Cure Violence—founded in Chicago in 2000—treats violence like a disease, aiming to "'interrupt' the spread of that disease by hiring people from the community to prevent or mediate violent conflicts." This public health approach has since been adopted throughout the country, including in New York with the Center's Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) programs in Brooklyn and the Bronx since the 2010s.
Prevention: one solution to gun violence that is able to save lives. Shootings disproportionately affect Black communities, and some community members are taking matters into their own hands. “Beyond Black History” podcast host Femi Redwood takes a look at SOS BedStuy’s work to use the power of credible messengers and positive change agents to mediate conflict and prevent violence.
Violence interruption is a community-based strategy to reduce gun violence and improve public safety in neighborhoods. Our anti-violence program Save Our Streets is profiled and named as a highly successful example of curbing gun violence in the South Bronx, reducing gun victimization by 63 percent in its initial years of implementation.