What Works to Reduce Violence:
Hard to believe, given the repeated bloodshed occurring in cities all over the United States, but in reality, violent crime rates have fallen across the country and in the Bay Area. There are many theories as to why. Here in Oakland, while we still suffer too much gun violence, too much death and devastation, there are many great community-based programs and agencies that have contributed to our current lower homicide and shooting rate. The citizens of Oakland deserve a lot of the credit, for taking it on themselves to vote in favor of a property tax back in 2004 (Measure Y, later renewed as Measure Z) to fund public safety and violence prevention efforts. Some of that revenue has gone to law enforcement approaches to violence reduction, like Ceasefire. But much more has helped create and sustain the kind of community-based violence prevention efforts that get to the root causes of violence, that seek to help victims heal, that are designed to create long-term safety and peace. That’s where Youth ALIVE! comes in. We believe lasting peace comes through prevention, intervention and healing delivered to the community by the community. A series underway by the excellent online publication The Trace is examining the current phenomenon of lower violent crime rates. It’s worth reading.