Mayor LaToya Cantrell today announced the launch by executive order of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.
“Establishing this office is part of our commitment to a holistic long-term strategy to prevent gun violence over time. This work started with recommendations from our Forward Together Transition Team, and in one of my first acts as Mayor, I established the Gun Violence Reduction Taskforce. This in turn led to the August 2019 Generational Gun Violence Reduction Plan. This new office will coordinate, fund and evaluate public health gun violence reduction interventions and their outcomes,” said Mayor Cantrell.
“Even though New Orleans has had over 100 murders annually since the 1970s, no other administration has invested in the infrastructure to focus on this problem over the long term,” said Joshua Cox, Director of Strategic Initiatives.
Patrick Young will serve as Director for the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which will feature three core functions:
- Implement Public Health Interventions
- Cure Violence – A community-based intervention that interrupts conflicts before they turn violent by using culturally competent messengers as violence interrupters and mediators. With nine current staff members, the organization responds to shootings victims and their families at both UMC and New Orleans East Hospital and attempts to diffuse conflict and prevent retaliation.
- CEO Works – The City of New Orleans contracted with Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) to provide transitional employment for residents returning home from incarceration. Participants do blight reduction and grass cutting four days a week and attend professional development one day a week, which includes soft skills training and resume development.
- Jumpstart Program – On April 6, the City launched an eight-week program to connect young people who are disconnected from work and school with soft-skills training and employment opportunities through the City's Office of Workforce Development. After the two-month program, participants will be connected with a nine-month job experience and extended case management.
- Barber and Beautician Collective – Barbers and beauticians are community leaders and interface with hundreds of people a week. They often know about conflict before anyone else. This seven-week fellowship trains barbers in conflict resolution and mediation skills so that they can de-escalate conflicts that might arise.
- Manage the Gun Violence Policy Lab – This is a partnership with Tulane's Schools of Public Health and Professional Advancement to rigorously study gun violence in the city and to evaluate the effectiveness of our interventions.
- Develop funding for public health interventions and research – The City continues to work to attract government and philanthropic dollars and how to engage the private sector – insurance companies and payers – to make investments in public health interventions that will ultimately reduce costs associated with bad outcomes.