Center for American Progress

RELEASE: How City Offices of Violence Prevention Can Curb Gun Violence With Community-Driven Solutions
Press Release

RELEASE: How City Offices of Violence Prevention Can Curb Gun Violence With Community-Driven Solutions

Washington, D.C. — Across the United States, communities are grappling with rising rates of gun violence as well as the economic and social instability that has resulted from the pandemic. A new column released today by the Center for American Progress, the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR), and Advance Peace highlights the ways that civilian offices of violence prevention (OVPs) can help meet these public safety demands through their commitment to meaningful partnerships with community members who have been directly affected by gun violence.

“We are proud to work with OVPs throughout the country that are striving to increase public safety through community development and intervention efforts,” said David Muhammad, executive director of the NICJR and co-author of the column. “These offices are led by experts in the field who are implementing violence prevention plans in their jurisdictions and investing in community-based organizations.”

A range of community-centered intervention programs, known as community violence intervention (CVI), are being implemented across the country. These programs focus on partnerships with individuals most affected by gun violence, especially Black and other communities of color. OVPs provide the infrastructure and resources to administer or oversee CVI and other program implementation, ensuring that community-based interventions are elevated as integral elements of public safety practice—not just as an experimental alternative to enforcement.

“It has never been more important to ensure that government resources are being dedicated to community-based interventions that reduce gun violence and that real, trusted partnership can grow from those investments,” said Rachael Eisenberg, senior director of Criminal Justice Reform at CAP and co-author of the column.

The column also recognizes the importance of the National Offices of Violence Prevention Network, a learning community led by the NICJR with the goal of significantly increasing the expertise and effectiveness of OVPs. When the network launched, it comprised 19 OVPs and has now grown to more than 35 jurisdictions. The NICJR recently released a National Offices of Violence Prevention Network report based on a landscape scan of OVPs conducted in 2020. Establishing an OVP is an important step in ensuring that arrest and incarceration are no longer the first response to issues of public safety—and it will help build toward a future that is guided by communities who bear the brunt of today’s violence and the United States’ overly punitive criminal justice system.

“It is truly inspiring to see more and more local governments acknowledge the importance of government investment and innovation in this space. I have seen firsthand how such an office can help make a city healthier, safer, and more just for our most affected neighborhoods,” said DeVone Boggan, founder and CEO of Advance Peace and co-author of the column.

Click here to read: “The Role of Civilian Offices of Violence Prevention in Helping Communities Stem Gun Violence” by Rachael Eisenberg, David Muhammad, and DeVone Boggan

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Tricia Woodcome at twoodcome@americanprogress.org.