Mayor Duggan, ShotStoppers organizations outline progress already being made in Detroit’s grand CVI experiment
- ShotStoppers work began August 1st, with successful interventions already being recorded
- City of Detroit is trying something new, shifting the way Community Violence Intervention work is measured and funded
- Each group serving a defined geographic area, each with different approaches
Mayor Mike Duggan, Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison and leaders from the City’s ShotStoppers organizations this evening provided members of the community an update on the City’s innovative violence reduction initiative and highlighted specific examples of how it is making an impact, less than a month after its August 1 launch. The presentation was given to residents in attendance at the Mayor’s District 7 community meeting at Kadesh Baptist Church and those watching online.
ShotStoppers is a $10 million City of Detroit initiative, made possible by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act, and is a whole new way to approach Community Violence Intervention work. The City of Detroit selected 6 community organizations through a competitive bid process. Each is responsible for reducing homicides and shootings in their group’s selected area - called a CVI Zone - using their own violence prevention strategy.
Each of the organizations receives a quarterly base budget of $175,000 to implement their prevention strategy. They also can earn additional funding based on their results. In any quarter a CVI group’s violence reduction efforts are 10% more successful than the rest of the city, that group will receive an additional $87,500 in prevention funding. In any quarter they outperform the rest of the city by 20%, they will receive an additional $175,000.
Many cities around the country provide funding for CVI programs, but this is the first program of its kind we’re aware of that will pay CVI groups based on the outcomes they achieve in reducing homicides and shootings.
CVI Work Began August 1
Once Detroit City Council approved the ShotStopper contracts and each group completed start-up activities, the CVI work began in earnest August 1st. The City of Detroit held a kickoff meeting with Mayor Duggan and Deputy Mayor Bettison to bring all six groups together on August 3rd and many had already gotten started and had updates to share on how they’re putting their plans in motion.
While performance will be measured quarterly, with the first quarter running August 1st through the end of October, Mayor Duggan says he expects it will take at least a year to know if this experiment is really working.
“You can’t change the hearts and minds of people overnight. Boston is a national model for using CVI to reduce violence, and they’ve been working at this since the 1990’s,” he said. “We are encouraged by the success stories we’re already hearing from our ShotStoppers groups and will be with them every step of the way.”
The goal of this program is to measure results to help determine which approaches work best. This will guide future CVI investments and initiatives. Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison has worked with many of the ShotStoppers and other groups doing CVI work in the City of Detroit for more than a decade and is glad to finally see this level of funding being directed to the work.
“There are ideas and concepts these organizations have had for years, but they’ve never been able to bring them to fruition due to lack of funding,” he said. “Most CVI work is done on a volunteer basis. We’re glad to now not only be able to invest in our police department to fight crime, but in these community groups who are working to intervene and prevent the crime before it even happens.”
Detroit’s novel approach with ShotStoppers is being watched closely by national experts. "The ShotStoppers initiative is an innovative approach to the very challenging problem of gun violence. I applaud the City of Detroit for investing in communities, allowing local organizations to design neighborhood solutions, and rewarding effective programs that save lives," said David Muhammad, Executive Director of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR), which provides training and support to several cities around the county on gun violence reduction strategies. "I am hopeful, based on the ShotStoppers initiative, that Detroit will reduce its rate of gun violence."
ShotStoppers leaders in District 7 used tonight’s community meeting to share stories of success since their CVI work began August 1st. Dr. Raphael Johnson, Founder of The Detroit 300, is happy to report he believes a life was already saved because of their work.
“Thanks to Detroit 300’s integration into the community, our President, Eric Ford, was in the right place at the right time and defused a potential shooting. He, along with several others, were eating lunch at a local Coney Island restaurant, witnessed an argument where someone pulled a gun, stepped in to speak with that person and deescalate the situation, and the individuals left the scene with no violence.”
New Era Community Connection has been doing CVI work in the community since 2014. Just a few days ago, the group launched its Safe Zone Mobile app as one part of their violence reduction strategy. The app will allow residents in their CVI Zone to report issues in the community anonymously to help prevent crime. The announcement took place in their new community resource hub.
One of New Era’s group leaders, Nilajah Alonzo, said, “We call ourselves a “mudroots” organization because we get under the grass, we get into the mud, we get into the community, we get into the streets, we get into the 'hoods, to connect with people and engage with them.” President and Founder Zeek Williams this infusion of funds is going to further their mission and help them reach more Detroiters. “The work we do is always about our love for the community and its people. Here in Detroit, we are able to bridge gaps between the community, the police and the administration. This is something that can’t be done in every city.”
Force Detroit has already enrolled 33 youth and young adults at risk of involvement in violence into its program to mentor them, teach them non-violent conflict resolution, provide mental health support, and referring them to wraparound services, specifically job training. They’ve also mediated a high-profile conflict between youth stemming from an argument which started on social media and launched a program called UpTogether, which has already provided 30 families directly affected by violence with financial help. Force Detroit Community Organizer Zoe Kennedy says this funding from the City of Detroit is already changing lives. “Anything we can do to prevent things from happening before they happen is a positive force here in our community," Kennedy said
All three ShotStoppers organizations touching Detroit’s District 7 are working to develop community resource hubs in their neighborhood so residents know where to go to get help, guidance, or to report a potential concern they feel could result in violence.
The work of these CVI organizations is felt strongly by the communities they serve. “Detroit 300 has been a blessing to us, not only for my family and business but for the community as well,” said James Mahone, owner of Crumbz Café on Schoolcraft Road. “I’ve had a couple incidents at my business and Detroit 300 was the first to arrive and last to leave. They operate in a professional manner, and we feel more safe and secure knowing they’re around.”
“The impact that Force Detroit has had on the neighborhood has been great. It has caused the community and the clients of my business to unite and look forward to helping restore the unity to the place that we live in and work in,” said Mike Jackson, owner of Emani’s Barber and Beauty Shop on Joy Road.