Most gun violence is predictable and concentrated among small groups of people. We operate a street outreach program 24/7 in Austin, Back of the Yards, Brighton Park, and West Garfield Park. Our teams are from and live in the communities they serve. They understand street dynamics and are effective at building trust with individuals most likely to be shot or become a shooter.
Using data and experience, outreach workers know who to approach, where and when to show up, and how to negotiate peace. When a shooting happens, they immediately work to prevent retaliation and support those in crisis.
“[Outreach workers] can find people at severe risk. They can reach people that avoid police, schools, and hospitals. [They] can reach those in harm’s way outside the criminal justice context, which will go far to repair trust with the criminal justice system.”
Andrew Papachristos, Faculty Director, Northwestern’s Center for Neighborhood Engaged Research & Science (CORNERS)
The Nonviolence Chicago Street Outreach teams advocate for the community. We provide food and toiletries and conduct well-being checks when needed. To help communities take back space where violence has occurred, we host events creating safe spaces and building relationships with our neighbors.
When there is a shooting, "I respond to the scene and make connections with the victim’s family and friends. I check social media to see if [the shooting] is being antagonized online. I go to the hospital and try to get to the bottom of the situation to see if I can stop the next incident from happening."
Dwayne Hunter, Outreach Worker
Outreach workers provide:
Cognitive Behavioral Interventions
"If I get to save one person's life, then I've won. We created a nonaggression agreement between two street factions. They've been rivals for over 30 years...We felt good bringing peace to the community again."
Samuel Castro, Director of Community Violence Intervention