Even in the midst of unprecedented public safety improvements in New York City, the Brownsville section of
Brooklyn continues to be plagued by disproportionately high rates of serious crime.
In recent years, the local police precinct has ranked as one of the most violent in the city; a recent New York Times headline about Brownsville told the story succinctly: “Where Optimism Feels Out of Reach.” The Brownsville Anti-Violence Project seeks to improve public safety in Brownsville and enhance local perceptions of justice. The project is the product of a unique public-private partnership involving:
— New York City Police Department
— Kings County District Attorney’s Offi ce
— U.S. Attorney’s Offi ce of the Eastern District of New York
— Center for Court Innovation
— Brownsville Partnership
— Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District
— New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
— New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
Adapting a model that has been documented to reduce crime in Chicago, the Brownsville Anti-Violence Project convenes monthly “callin” forums where parolees returning to the neighborhood meet with representatives of law enforcement, social service providers, and ex-offenders who have gotten their lives back on track. Participants in the meetings receive a targeted, three-pronged message: that future violent behavior will be rigorously prosecuted at both the state and federal levels; that many ex-offenders have successfully re-entered the community; and that individuals seeking help will be supported by the community and its service providers.
In addition to the call-in meetings, the Brownsville Anti-Violence Project includes a public education campaign promoting nonviolence and a range of community engagement and mobilization projects, including visible community service projects and youth programming.
Funding to support the Brownsville Anti-Violence Project has been provided by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Measuring results the Brownsville Anti-Violence Project will be a closely-watched experiment. To measure the project’s impact, researchers from the Center for Court Innovation will conduct the following:
— Neighborhood Crime Analysis, documenting the program’s impact on rates of violent crime in Brownsville.
— Recidivism Analysis, documenting the effect of the program on re-offending by participants in the call-in meetings.
— Community Surveys, measuring the extent to which the program’s anti-violence message takes hold in the community.
For more information contact:
Erica Mateo, Project Coordinator