Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) seeks to end gun violence at the neighborhood level by changing local norms.
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.
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.