Washington, D.C. — Today, 21 cities across the country joined with the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR), Advance Peace, and the Center for American Progress to launch the National Offices of Violence Prevention Network, a coalition of local governments committed to reimagining public safety. The newly formed Network brings together the leaders of civilian local government offices dedicated to community-driven safety solutions, known as offices of violence prevention (OVPs).
Through OVPs, cities are making meaningful investments in violence prevention and intervention strategies that strengthen neighborhood well-being while shrinking the footprint of the criminal justice system. The National OVP Network will serve as a community of practice for local OVPs as they work to create safe, healthy, and thriving neighborhoods in cities across the country. At a moment when local leaders are pioneering a new approach to public safety, the Network will provide vital opportunities for OVPs to learn from their peers, connect with leading national experts, and build capacity to implement, evaluate, and sustain a community-driven safety agenda.
“We are excited to partner with our colleagues from around the country to form this network and learning community of local government agencies working to reduce violence in their areas,” said David Muhammad, executive director of NICJR, who will co-direct the National OVP Network. “We will support member cities and counties to build their capacity, launch new programs, expand their data collection capabilities and, most importantly, save lives.”
“The professionals who lead these city and county agencies have proven to be dynamic leaders in their field, and we are honored to create this national network to uplift and expand their important work. As we have seen violence increase across America over the past year in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of this network is even more essential to producing healthier, safer, and more just communities,” said DeVone Boggan, founder and CEO of Advance Peace, national partner at NICJR, and co-director of the National OVP Network. Muhammad and Boggan also worked together in 2005 to create the first-of-its-kind Office of Violence Prevention in Richmond, California, now known as the Office of Neighborhood Safety.
“We are honored to support the National OVP Network, a group of cities that are leaders in the movement to reshape public safety policy. Through the Network, we hope to share what’s possible when local governments step up and make a tangible commitment to building safe, thriving communities,” said Betsy Pearl, associate director for Criminal Justice Reform at CAP, a partner organization in the National OVP Network.
Founding members of the National OVP Network include, Birmingham, Alabama; Chicago; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Los Angeles County, California; Louisville, Kentucky; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; New York; Newark, New Jersey; Newport News, Virginia; Oakland, California; Philadelphia; Portland, Oregon; Ramsey County, Minnesota; Richmond, California; Sacramento, California; San Bernardino, California; South Bend, Indiana; Stockton, California; and Washington, D.C.
The movement to invest in community-driven solutions builds on decades of advocacy from organizers and activists nationwide, calling for an approach to public safety that does not rely solely on policing and prisons. With generous support from the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative and the Joyce Foundation, the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform is proud to partner with Advance Peace and the Center for American Progress to help OVPs bring their community’s vision for public safety into reality.
To learn more about the National OVP Network, visit: www.OVPnetwork.org.
For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Claudia Montecinos at gro.ssergorpnacirema@sonicetnomc.