Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a press conference on Wednesday that he has allocated $13 million for an anti-violence program to send more ex-gang members known as “violence interrupters” into high-crime precincts to help mediate conflicts between young people, New York Crain’s.
The program, which has already begun in five precincts with high incidence of shootings and violence, including Crown Heights, has led to a 66 percent drop in shootings, according to NYPD data.
“You train people from the community, you hire them into this program, some of whom have real experience [with gangs] that gives them a kind of legitimacy,” said de Blasio. “They came back from the abyss.”
The model on which the program is based is being tried across the country in places like Chicago; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Columbus, Georgia, and treats violence as a public-health disease to be cured like AIDS or tuberculosis.
The mayor’s office will expand the program to 14 precincts that account for 51 percent of shootings in the city, including “wrap-around” services provided by other city agencies to increase mental health, job placement and educational services in these communities.