City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County select Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. for Cure Violence implementation
Cory Burkarth
Cory.Burkarth@charlottenc.gov
4/6/2021
Cure Violence implementation

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 6, 2021) – The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County on Tuesday announced that Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP) has been selected as the vendor for Cure Violence implementation.

Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. was one of four organizations to submit proposals to the city’s Request for Proposals. The organization has a track record of success in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, and this partnership will allow YAP to continue its good work here in the community.

“YAP has been working with the County’s Department of Criminal Justice Services’ Youth Recovery Court and Youth and Family Services since 2019 and has been an invaluable partner to us and the families that they have served,” said Raynard Washington, Mecklenburg County Deputy Health Director. “We are excited to utilize their experience in violence interruption and existing knowledge of our community to better address our residents’ needs.”

Founded in 1975, YAP is accredited by the Council on Accreditation and is a nationally recognized nonprofit that has 45 years of agency-wide experience engaging the highest-risk individuals in neighborhoods deeply affected by violence, poverty and incarceration. In cities such as Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington DC, YAP has successfully implemented programs that target specific individuals, neighborhoods and broader violence and crime reduction strategies. Their methods include a combination of proactive and reactive strategies that are designed to interrupt imminent violence while promoting individual and community transformation over the longer term.

Cure Violence is an evidence-based violence interruption strategy that uses data and evaluated methodology (developed over time and that provides consistent results) to interrupt violence on the ground.

Several priority areas have been identified as durable hotspots of violent incidents in Charlotte. By using a tried and tested evidence-based model, which focuses on the individuals in the geographies with the highest risk of being involved in violent crime, Charlotte has the highest likelihood of stopping violence before it occurs and preventing future violent incidents.

“Our City has recently experienced a significant increase in incidents of violent crime,” said Federico Rios, Assistant Director, Office of Equity, Mobility and Immigrant Integration for the City of Charlotte. “By implementing the Cure Violence methodology through a trusted community-based organization that will hire residents from Charlotte, we are centering the expertise of the local community members that will be hired to serve as Violence Interrupters and outreach workers. In so doing, we recognize that those individuals, often most proximate to these experiences, have viable solutions to address them.”

The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have been exploring a partnership with Cure Violence Global for almost two years. Cure Violence worked with the city, county, and community over the summer to conduct an assessment and determined that a locally-implemented violence interrupter program could be viable along the Beatties Ford Road corridor. Cure Violence has a long history of work in cities across the globe. They also have had extensive evaluation from various academic institutions which have found that their methodology is effective when implemented with fidelity.

Cure Violence Global is a non-profit, public health organization that has developed a successful methodology that works to interrupt violence in the place and during the time it happens. Cure Violence’s methodology includes resourcing community members to work with people who are at the most risk for perpetrating violence. The methodology is specific, based in public health principles, and uses data to target areas and individuals that are most likely affected by violence. Interrupters are community members and trusted messengers who use their credibility and relationships to mediate conflict and stop violence before it happens. Interrupters work in their neighborhoods, talking to people on the street, during the times that violence is known to happen. Outreach specialists maintain a caseload of persons they support in receiving services and resources to prevent future violence.

Cure Violence has helped set up evidence-based violence interruption programs in Durham and Greensboro, North Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana, Chicago, Illinois; Baltimore, Maryland; New York City, New York; Washington, District of Columbia; St. Louis, Missouri; and Camden, New Jersey.

FAQ About Evidence-Based Violence Interruption and Cure Violence Global

An evidence-based violence interruption strategy is one that uses data and evaluated methodology (developed over time and that provides consistent results) to interrupt violence on the ground. 

Several priority areas have been identified as durable hotspots of violent incidents in Charlotte. By using a tried and tested evidence-based model (instead of inventing one), which focuses on the individuals in the geographies with the highest risk of being involved in violence, Charlotte has the highest likelihood of of stopping violence before it occurs and preventing future violent incidents.. 

​The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have been exploring a partnership with Cure Violence Global for almost two years.  In January, the Charlotte City Council asked staff to implement an evidence-based violence intervention model to curb violent crime in four durable hot spots in Charlotte.  Cure Violence has a long history of work in cities across the globe.  They also have had extensive evaluation from various academic institutions which have found that their methodology is effective when implemented with fidelity, whether the city is Chicago, IL or Cali, Colombia. 

Multiple independent evaluations have been conducted analyzing Cure Violence's work.  Those studies overwhelmingly have noted significant reductions in violence in the areas where violence interrupters have been deployed. 

Read the Cure Violence Impact Report for more information on the organization's successes.

​Cure Violence Global is a non-profit, public health organization that has developed a successful methodology that works to interrupt violence in the place and during the time it happens. Cure Violence's methodology includes resourcing community members to work with people who are at the most risk for perpetrating violence.  The methodology is specific, based in public health principles, and uses data to target areas and individuals that are most likely affected by violence. Interrupters are community members and trusted messengers who use their credibility and relationships to mediate conflict and stop violence before it happens.  Interrupters work in their neighborhoods, talking to people on the street, during the times that violence is known to happen.  Outreach specialists maintain a caseload of persons they support in receiving services and resources to prevent future violence. 

​Cure Violence has helped set up evidence-based violence interruption programs in Durham and Greensboro, NC; Jacksonville, FL; Atlanta, GA; New Orleans, LA, Chicago, IL; Baltimore, MD; New York City, NY; Washington, DC; St. Louis, MO; Camden, NJ; Cali, Colombia among others.

The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County will work together to implement Cure Violence's methodology through a Community-Based Organization (CBO) with a history of work and credibility in the community where violence is taking place.  The interrupter program will be launched in a specific area where data shows violence is happening, Beatties Ford Road and LaSalle Street. The Community-Based Organization will be resourced to administer the program through hiring supervisor(s), interrupters, and outreach workers, all from the community.  Additionally, Cure Violence Global will provide the training and technical assistance to stand up the program and ensure the right measures and ongoing training are in place for success.

​The Cure Violence methodology works by stopping the spread of violence with the assistance of trained violence interrupters and outreach workers by using the methods and strategies associated with disease control; 1. Detecting and interrupting conflicts, 2. Identifying and treating the highest risk individuals, 3. Changing social norms

​Violence interrupters are people with credibility, from the local community, with relationships that enable them to intervene when and where violence happens. They are trained to resolve conflict.  The interrupter will leverage relationships to intervene in conflict and stop violence before it happens.  The best practice for hiring violence interrupters utilizes a community-based hiring panel.  The interrupters are trained and supported by Cure Violence Global and are paid for their work. 

​Outreach workers work with participants to create a personalized violence reduction plan.  They work individually with people at highest risk to figure out what the individual needs to avoid decisions that lead to violence. 

​Violence interrupters will not share information with police.  Cure Violence plays a separate role to law enforcement. The Cure Violence approach is focused on preventing someone from crossing the line into violent action by focusing on prevention. Evidence shows that Cure Violence programs help relations between police and community by preventing violence before it happens, reducing police interventions.

​Community-based organizations play an integral role in providing the social infrastructure, social services, and personal relationships needed to reduce violence. Having a healthy and connected ecosystem of community-based organizations is essential to the success of the Cure Violence program. 

​The City's Jumpstart Micro-grant program is designed to provide small programming grants to community-based organizations to help jumpstart efforts around community safety. In alignment with the City's commitment to addressing community safety within priority areas of the city, the Jumpstart program has been retooled to prioritize organizations that are serving those key zip codes in Charlotte. In addition, the City and non-profit partners offer support and capacity building training to ensure the efforts of funded organizations can be sustained into the future.  

​Cure Violence provides the methodology, training, support and technical assistance for the local community-based organization that is selected to implement the program. Violence interrupters and outreach workers from the community will be paid to do their critical work.  Outreach workers are tasked with providing support to individuals, and success in that areas is reliant on having great connections and relationships with service providers and community organizations so they can make impactful connections and referrals.

​Cure Violence's role is very focused – to reduce shooting and killings in the target area they work in. Cure Violence will not solve the underlying causes of violence and the systemic inequities in our community. That work is part of a larger community-wide, collaboration that takes time, commitment and strategy to address. The City, County, and Community groups have multiple strategies that support that work, that will need sustained focus, and support.