Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) seeks to end gun violence at the neighborhood level by changing local norms.
S.O.S. is modelled on the Cure Violence approach first pioneered in Chicago. Rather than reacting after-the-fact, the emphasis is on prevention. S.O.S. outreach workers attempt to defuse conflicts before they erupt into violence. Program staff also work to address the traumatic effects of experiencing violence on young men of color and act as mentors to those at risk of perpetrating or being the victims of violence. The goal is to help service recipients make behavioral changes by providing them with services and links to meaningful educational and employment opportunities.
S.O.S. staff are a highly-visible presence in their communities, working closely with neighborhood leaders and businesses to reject gun violence. YO S.O.S. (Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets) is the youth leadership arm of S.O.S. in central Brooklyn, empowering young people to become peer educators and community organizers around issues of violence, trauma, and conflict mediation.
An evaluation of S.O.S. in Crown Heights, Brooklyn found it had a significant positive impact on the rate of gun violence in the area relative to neighboring, comparable areas where no such program existed.