March 15, 2021
Mentorship program connects violence interrupters with at-risk New Yorkers to prevent gun violence
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams today announced that New York City will pilot the Advance Peace Model, a new gun violence prevention program that pairs youth who are at-risk for gun violence with individual mentors.
"The most effective solutions come from the grassroots and create change beyond the power of government," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "The Crisis Management System has empowered leaders from across our city to take control of their neighborhoods and rethink what it means to keep each other safe. This Advance Peace Model will guarantee a safer and fairer New York for generations to come.”
“We all have a part to play in co-producing public safety, and healing old wounds and building new partnerships will require bold actions. It is not enough to react to violence, we need to advance peace,” said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. “This pilot program is an opportunity to demonstrate the power of not only this program, but these principles of public safety. I thank the Mayor for funding the Advance Peace pilot program in New York City. After seeing such success with the Crisis Management System, we must continue to innovate in our work to reimagine public safety, and I’m eager to put this model into action and save lives.”
Under the pilot, the City will conduct outreach in areas with high levels of gun violence to identify youth who are at-risk for gun violence. Select individuals are then invited to join the Peacemaker fellowship, which pairs mentees with individual Neighborhood Change Agents who mentor them and set tangible goals like a drivers’ license or a GED. When participants achieve their goals, they receive a monetary stipend.
The Advance Peace model has proved successful in other parts of the country. A peer-reviewed study of the pilot in Sacramento, California showed a 27% reduction in gun violence in the program’s catchment area over two years. The study further demonstrates the efficacy of the program by documenting high levels of service referrals, conflict mediations, and gun violence interruptions.
The pilot will launch in July of 2021 in five precincts citywide: the 46th Precinct in the Bronx, the 114th Precinct in Queens, the 26th Precinct in Manhattan, the 73rd Precinct in Brooklyn, and the 120th Precinct in Staten Island.
"Our City needs to invest in more initiatives that boost Crisis Management Systems in the ongoing effort to reduce gun violence, and this Advance Peace Model pilot is a good first step,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “Youth mentorship is an important part of violence prevention. I look forward to seeing this new program thrive as we begin to reimagine public safety in New York City.”
"I welcome the Advance Peace Model to the 41st council district. The majority of crime within the 73rd precinct is linked to poverty and mental (un)health. This is a real anti-crime and anti-violence tool that provides high risk individuals with much needed attention and avenues to set and reach goals. Proactive methods are welcome. This is a real partnership of police and community that meet people where they are,” said Council Member Alicka Ampry Samuels.
"This is great news. Having provided $2.25 million in my district to prevent gun violence, I look forward to this new program. While we made tremendous progress citywide through the City Council’s Task Force to Prevent Gun Violence, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a new set of challenges with increased violence throughout the five boroughs. I’m confident that the Advance Peace Program will be successful in addressing the surge in gun violence. The US Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice Programs and the World Health Organization both support life and social skills development that teach youth how to effectively handle daily life challenges. Achieving the goals of earning a GED or obtaining a driver’s license while having access to effective mentorship meet these standards," said Council Member Fernando Cabrera.
“It is with great optimism and enthusiasm that we embrace this most recent addition to our arsenal of community focused public safety tools. We look forward to the inclusion of the Advance Peace, evidence-based model into our human justice and cure violence work. We, the leadership of the anti-gun violence movement across the City of New York would like to thank both our Mayor and our Public Advocate for being both innovative and forward thinking and making this important investment into keeping New York the safest big city in the nation,” said K. Bain Co-Founder of the NYC Crisis Management System & Executive Director of Community Capacity Development, Iesha Sekou of Street of Corner Resources, and AT Mitchell of Man Up.