ONS reports ‘significant drop’ in homicides to Human Rights Commission
on September 25, 2012
There was a significant drop in gun-related summer violence this summer, which representatives from The Office of Neighborhood Safety credited at a meeting Monday night to the agency’s Summer Gun Violence Interruption Initiative.
ONS Director DeVone Boggan also said at the Human Rights Commission meeting that the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program awarded the city of Richmond $1.2 million to provide expanded mentoring services to East Bay youth. The funding will be spread over the next 3 years and will involve a partnership between the ONS and other Bay Area youth service organizations.
“I’m excited to keep helping young men make better decisions,” Boggan said. “We go to work every day with the firm belief that one [homicide] is too many.”
Last year, 14 of the year’s 26 homicides involving gun violence occurred between May and August. Boggan blames the seasonal uptick on isolation and idleness.
This summer, ONS responded with the Summer Gun Violence Interruption Initiative, also known as Occupy North Richmond. The program ran between June 1-August1. Boggan and his team of seven Neighborhood Change Agents spent 12-16 hours a day on the streets of North Richmond, including weekends. Six gun-related homicides occurred during the program, though none of them occurred in North Richmond.
ONS uses a street outreach strategy to directly engage those most likely to commit gun violence in Richmond. By intensifying street presence “we engage the players most directly involved, create relationships and direct them to opportunities,” Boggan said. “If we want to end gun violence, we must partner with those who are most responsible.”
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