In 2014, as overall crime dipped throughout New York City, a share of its public housing developments experienced an alarming spike. Then-mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration identified 15 developments that accounted for 20 percent of the city’s violent crime, then launched the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety, or MAP. The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice described it as “a targeted, comprehensive approach to reduce violent crime in and around” those developments.
One component of MAP was Next STEPS, a city program that aimed to prevent violence by enlisting nonprofits to provide “one-on-one and group mentoring within a cognitive behavioral therapy-based curriculum” to about 200 young people, between 16 and 24. Yesterday, Gothamist reported that participating organizations were notified in late September that they had a week to shut the program down. “Yet again, somebody has gave up on them,” one former Next STEPS mentee told the Gothamist.
Providers and participants alike are “shock[ed]” and “astonished” by Mayor Eric Adams’s orders, which come less than a month after the mayor announced budget cuts that could amount to 15 percent by next April. Last week, Next STEPS supporters joined with City Council members at a criminal justice committee meeting to demand the program, which operated at an annual cost of $2.5 million, be reinstated. As The Trace’s Olga Pierce reported in January, community violence interruption can be effective, but meaningful prevention depends on integration with public health research and government leadership.
“The Department of Probation seems to be cutting back all types of prevention programming and really only focusing on services for people already on probation,” said Scott Short, CEO of RiseBoro Community Partnership, which had previously collaborated with Next STEPS, “and that’s not the right approach to reducing violent crime.”
What to Know Today
In February 2022, lawyer Josh Koskoff won a $73 million settlement in a suit against Remington Arms, brought on behalf of families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre. It was arguably the first case to successfully hold a gunmaker responsible for a mass shooting since Congress approved broad legal protections for gun companies in 2005 — and now, Koskoff is a go-to lawyer for other victims of mass-casualty gun violence. [The New York Times]
The company behind ShotSpotter, a controversial gunshot-detection system, is quietly acquiring parts of the firm that developed the infamous “predictive policing” software PredPol. Experts say the bundling of the technologies, both of which have faced questions about their efficacy and their use in communities of color, has the potential to shape the future of policing. [Wired]
Senator Dianne Feinstein, who died Friday, was the first person to find the body of Harvey Milk, one of the country’s first openly gay elected officials, after he was shot and killed in San Francisco City Hall in 1978. The assassination altered the course of her political career and drove her decades-long advocacy for gun safety laws. [Los Angeles Times]
The number of kids and teens who died of gun-related homicide or suicide reached a record high in 2021, according to the most recent CDC data. More child homicides and suicides by gun were recorded in 2021 than in any year since 1999. [CNN]
The Texas Department of Public Safety has spent the past 16 months trying to avoid a public reckoning with its response to the mass shooting in Uvalde. One reason it’s been able to postpone: DPS Director Steve McCraw has continuously delayed meeting with a fired Texas Ranger for an appeals process. [Texas Observer]
A man was charged with attempted murder for shooting an activist in Española, New Mexico, during a peaceful protest at the site of a proposed statue of a colonizer who killed and maimed thousands of Native Americans. The shooter is the third Trump supporter in New Mexico to be charged with a politically motivated shooting since 2020. [Source New Mexico]
Richard Mack — famous for his role in a lawsuit that overturned part of the Brady Bill — is touring the country to recruit local communities into the far-right “constitutional sheriff” movement, an ideology that asserts sheriffs are not beholden to state or federal law. A recent event in North Carolina was attended by a sheriff whose county government asked him not to attend; Mack’s next stop is Minnesota. [The Assembly/Minnesota Reformer]
The presumed frontrunner for Philadelphia mayor, Democratic nominee Cherelle Parker, has been under mounting pressure to share her plans to address key issues like public safety. With a little over a month until the election, she’s broken some of her silence, reaffirming her support of stop-and-frisk and community policing in a recent interview. [Billy Penn] Context: Parker has agreed to one debate with her Republican opponent, but community members worry that won’t be enough for Philadelphians to learn exactly how the next mayor proposes to combat the city’s gun violence crisis.
2,279 — the number of gun homicides of children and teens in 2021. That’s double the number of gun homicides recorded a decade prior. [CNN]