NYCHA Looks to Outside Help in Reducing Violence in Public Housing

Friday, August 17, 2012

Jackson Houses in the Bronx, public housing, NYCHA Jackson Houses in the Bronx. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

In an effort to decrease violence in public housing, the New York City Housing Authority plans to bring in so-called “violence interrupters.”

Theses are members of anti-violence groups — usually ex-felons and gang members with street credibility — who try to intervene in ongoing conflicts. The ex-felons and gang members build relationships with high risk youth known to carry guns and try to convince them to resolve their disputes peacefully and not to retaliate when a shooting occurs.

Caseworkers are also used to help get young men jobs and to provide counseling.

These anti-violence groups already exist in other major cities, as well as city neighborhoods such as Harlem and Crown Heights.

The program can be somewhat controversial because violence interrupters and caseworkers don't share information with police. Program coordinators have said it's the only way to maintain trust and relationships on the street.

At a recent hearing, NYCHA Chairman John Rhea said grant money from The New York Community Trust would pay for seven groups to work with an anti-gang coordinator yet to be hired by NYCHA.  

Details about which developments will be targeted still must be worked out.

Several public housing developments throughout the city have been plagued by shootings. Rhea said the anti-violence groups are one more strategy to try to combat the violence.  


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Comments [3]



Oct. 01 2012 01:49 PM
Antonio Morales

They can start at the NYCH in the Rockaways. I was going to see a friend in the hosp. and mistakenly got off by the projects. So, I decided to take a bus, in a matter of minutes I was spotted by a gang of youth who were coming at me from my left and right side. All of a sudden a police car came to a stop in front of me and ask me to get in and took me to the hospital. The area is under surveillance from police towers surrounding the projects. My God what a way to live! I felt like I was in a third world country. Things are so bad that the local Bodega and Chinese restaurant are burned out.

Aug. 28 2012 08:36 AM from

They could call in the mafia. NYCHA has worked well with them in the past.

Aug. 17 2012 07:08 PM

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