There is so much to be learned from other communities that also struggle with gun violence … and the answers are not complicated.
For many years Oakland was considered to be among the most dangerous cities in America, yet it has managed to cut its annual shootings and homicides nearly in half since 2012.
The key to their success was an ongoing PARTNERSHIP between community members, social service providers, and law enforcement officials. As an officer, I am highly impressed at the broad level of community involvement and support that Oakland developed.
Part of that involvement consisted of “Night Walks” whereby the community members go out into impacted neighbourhoods in the evening hours and directly engage with people on the street.
“During Night Walks, community partners have conversations with people they encounter on the street, build relationships, and let young men and women in the neighbourhood know that the community cares about them and wants to see them alive and free, but the violence must stop.”
These walks take place once a week and they require a minimum of 8 people. What’s amazing is that in nearly six years of weekly walks, only one has been canceled for lack of numbers.
Please watch this example of Oakland’s “Night Walk” success … there is no doubt that it is truly the community members themselves that can affect the most change.