Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,000,000)
In 2019, more than 100 homicides occurred in Charlotte — an 80 percent increase over the previous year and the city's highest number of homicides since the early 1990s — and hospital emergency departments treated more than 4,000 Mecklenburg County residents for assault-related injuries.
In response to an increase in violent crimes and homicides in Charlotte over the course of 2019, Charlotte City Council adopted its Framework to Address Violence in March 2020. The framework is comprised of five pillars that inform policy and program development:
• Intergovernmental Collaboration
• Invest in Community-Led Efforts
• Interrupt Violence
• Community Collaboration in Priority Areas
• Use Data and Evidence
Since its adoption, staff and council have worked collaboratively with Mecklenburg County, community members, and other key stakeholders to advance initiatives that address violence and promote safety in our neighborhoods.
The City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and those partners have adopted a public health approach to interrupt and prevent violent crime named Alternatives to Violence (ATV).
ATV works to stop shootings and killings in the Beatties Ford/LaSalle area using a public health model with three primary strategies:
Detecting and interrupting conflicts.
Identifying and treating individuals at high risk of involvement in violence.
Changing social norms that exacerbate violence in the community
ATV team members are trusted messengers who are based in the community. These trained violence interrupters and outreach workers prevent shootings by identifying and mediating potentially violent conflicts in the community and following up to ensure that the conflict does not reignite. ATV outreach workers engage high-risk individuals, talk to them about the costs of violence, and assist them in accessing services and support, including employment. The team works within the community to send the message that violence should not be viewed as normal, but rather, a behavior that can be changed
Violence Interruption is a unique, interdisciplinary, public health approach to violence prevention and an adaptation of the Cure Violence Model (CVM). The philosophy of CVM maintains that violence is a learned behavior that can be prevented using disease control methods. Violence Interruption works primarily with high-risk youth, aged 14 to 25, through regular individual interactions, conflict mediation, and community mobilization. Using proven public health techniques, the model focuses to prevent violence through a three-prong approach:
Identification & Detection
Violence Interruption is a data-driven model. Through a combination of statistical information and street knowledge, staff identify where to concentrate efforts, focus resources, and intervene in violence. This data guides staff to communities most impacted by violence. It provides a picture of those individuals at the highest risk for violence and shows staff how to intervene.
Interruption, Intervention, & Risk Reduction
Violence Interruption staff intervene in crises, mediate disputes between individuals, and intercede in group disputes to prevent acts of violence. Staff are experienced and well-trained professionals from the communities they represent. These individuals must have credibility and strong reputations in the community. This is often due to having similar lived experience to the individuals they seek to work with. Staff understand who holds the influence in communities and who they need to engage to de-escalate situations before an act of violence occurs.
Most program participants are beyond the reach of traditional social support systems. They have dropped out of school, exhausted social services or aged out, and many have never held a legitimate job. Often these individuals next encounter with the system results in incarceration or a victim of violence.