OAKLAND (KCBS) – The City of Oakland is getting to set to launch a violence reduction program that has been credited with helping reduce crime in New York over the last 20 years.
Operation Ceasefire failed when it was first tested three years ago. The program brings together so-called “street bosses,” those who call the shots. Authorities tell them to cool it or get the book thrown at them.
KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:
In exchange for putting away the guns, they’re offered education and job training.
David Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College in New York, created the program.
“You sit the gang members down and you say, ‘your community needs you to stop. We want to help you,’” said Kennedy. “’And the next gang that kills somebody gets all of our attention.’ It actually turns out not to be that hard to fix this stuff.”
The problem for Oakland was that, during the two years the city tried out the program, it never followed up on the punitive part. No one ever got prosecuted when the shootings failed to stop. And probation officers couldn’t track the program participants because of fake names and addresses and few people who first agreed to the renewed purpose.
Now Oakland is about to try again, and this time around, officials will not be enticing street thugs with jobs; instead, they’re pushing a primary message that violence won’t be tolerated and if you engage in it, you’ll go to prison.
Operation Ceasefire has worked in other cities outside of New York. In Stockton, it helped cut violence by 43 percent between 1998 and 2001.
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