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.
Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) Bronx is part of a network of community-based efforts throughout New York City to end gun violence. S.O.S. was the first among the network to adapt the Cure Violence model to New York. S.O.S. uses public health strategies to respond to incidents and prevent violence before it starts. S.O.S. works closely with local organizations, neighborhood churches and pastors, community residents, and the individuals considered most likely to commit a shooting. Independent evaluators credit S.O.S.
While crime has been declining amid COVID-19, in cities across the country, gun violence and homicides have been the exceptions. Long-time researcher and former Obama Department of Justice official, Thomas Abt, says there are proven solutions to reduce the violence. But he says both the right and the left fail to grasp the essence of any solution: focus on the violence itself. Abt is the author of Bleeding Out: The Devastating Consequences of Urban Violence and a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets.
As part of a conference sponsored by the Center for Court Innovation and the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, we asked justice system leaders and experts, "If you could make just one investment to improve criminal justice in New York City, what would it be?"
Safety is more than just the absence of crime. We asked people from communities around New York City, including our staff and people they work with, about safety—how they define it, and how they’d improve it in the neighborhoods where they live.
On our New Thinking podcast, Patrick Sharkey, the author of Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, the Renewal of City Life, and the Next War on Violence, discusses the wider costs of violence and the threat posed by inequality and disinvestment to the current fragile gains. He points to the signal role of community organizing and community-based nonprofits in combating violence and building safer, more resilient cities.
Programs focused on reducing gun violence, particularly public health initiatives such as Save Our Streets Crown Heights, are in a unique position to address the trauma that many young men of color experience. This fact sheet outlines strategies for violence interrupter programs to use in addressing trauma among their participants.
This report presents the results of a comprehensive impact and process evaluation of the anti-violence initiative Save Our Streets, which started in Crown Heights, Brooklyn in 2010. Results demonstrate that the initiative had a statistically significant impact on gun violence trends in Crown Heights when compared with three similar precincts in Brooklyn.