WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today announced that the Cure the Streets violence reduction program will expand with four newly-selected program sites in Wards 1, 4, 5, 6, and 8. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is now accepting applications from community-based organizations interested in operating program sites in fiscal year 2022.
Cure the Streets is a community-driven public safety pilot program working to reduce gun violence in targeted neighborhoods across the District that have historically experienced some of the highest rates of gun violence. OAG originally launched Cure the Streets in 2018 with two sites in neighborhoods that have experienced high rates of gun violence. By January 2020, the program was operating in six sites in Wards 5, 7, and 8. With the support of the DC Council, Cure the Streets will expand to four additional areas that continue to experience high levels of gun violence: Congress Heights, Brightwood Park/Petworth, Sursum Corda/Ivy City, and Historic Anacostia/Fairlawn. OAG has issued a Request for Applications (RFA) from local community-based non-profit organizations interested in receiving grant funding to implement the program.
“We are both excited and humbled by the support the Cure the Streets team has earned. Thanks to the ability of my office to substantially fund the program and to DC Council which made an unprecedented investment, we are expanding the program to four additional sites,” said AG Racine. “The new Cure sites are located in areas where the communities are experiencing gun violence. It’s clear new tools and approaches are needed to help stop violence. We know change in these neighborhoods doesn’t happen overnight, but we have already seen that the dedication of the outreach workers and violence interrupters helps improve public safety. We’re proud our efforts have become a critical piece in a much larger effort to address gun violence, and are helping make these neighborhoods and the District safer.”
“So much of the gun violence we see in our community stems from personal disputes and conflicts between neighboring crews,” said Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George. “Thankfully we will soon have a dedicated Cure the Streets team working day in and day out in Petworth and Brightwood Park to forge trust, resolve conflict, prevent retaliation, and build lasting peace in our neighborhoods. Cure the Streets uses an evidence-based, community-led model that is centered on public health and has a track record of success. It will be a critical piece of our broader public safety strategy to not only respond to gun violence, but also stop it before it happens. I'm grateful to DC Attorney General Karl Racine for following the data and stepping up to bring these much-needed resources to Ward 4.”
"I'm grateful to our Attorney General for directing more violence prevention resources to Ward 1 to further advance our public health approach to public safety," said Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau. "We must continue our focus on evidence-based models for violence prevention in our communities in order to address violence in both the immediate- and long-term."
Reflecting AG Racine’s belief that continued investment in community-based violence reduction is a critical piece of a much larger effort to reduce crime and violence, OAG requested and received funding from the Council to expand the program in Fiscal Year 2022.
New program sites were chosen through a months-long process that included quantitative and qualitative analysis of where the program is likely to have the greatest impact. Included in that analysis was data from Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, MPD incident reports and shot spotter data, as well community intelligence regarding gun violence and ongoing neighborhood conflicts. After identifying areas with persistent gun homicides and shootings, OAG’s Violence Reduction Unit met with community members and leaders in the affected areas to better understand the nature of the violence and determine where the program could be most effective.
In addition to continuing to operate the six existing Cure the Streets sites, OAG will expand the program to the following neighborhoods in spring 2022 which have experienced high levels of gun violence both historically as well as in the past few years:
- Congress Heights: This residential and commercial neighborhood had the highest number of incidents of violent gun crime in the District in 2020 and 2021. According to MPD data, since 2018, there have been 114 gun assaults with a dangerous weapon and 27 gun homicides in the target area alone.
- Brightwood Park/Petworth: This target area will include residential and commercial areas from Brightwood Park to Petworth and part of Columbia Heights. Within this area, ongoing and complex conflicts have resulted in multiple shootings and retaliatory violence in recent years. Since 2018, there have been 107 gun assaults with a dangerous weapon and 17 gun homicides.
- Sursum Corda/Ivy City: The target area located within these two residential and commercial areas has been the site of 47 gun assaults with a dangerous weapon and 12 gun homicides over the past three years.
- Historic Anacostia/Fairlawn: This area has experienced high rates of gun violence for decades. Since 2018, there have been 54 gun assaults with a dangerous weapon and 15 gun homicides in the target area.
A map showing the geographic boundaries of the new sites is available here.
Grant Information for Community-Based Organizations
OAG is currently soliciting applications from community-based nonprofit organizations interested in receiving grant funding to implement the Cure the Streets program at one or more program sites in 2022. The deadline for organizations to apply is Wednesday, January 12, 2022. More information is available here.
Organizations will be selected competitively through a rigorous process which evaluates their relationships and credibility with high-risk individuals in the target areas and their ability to successfully manage a program. Organizations should also demonstrate readiness to learn the Cure Violence model and adhere to rigorous data-collection requirements.
Cure the Streets
Cure the Streets is a pilot program launched by OAG that aims to reduce shootings and gun homicides in District neighborhoods where gun violence is a persistent problem. It uses a data-driven, public-health approach that treats violence like a disease that can be interrupted, treated, and stopped from spreading. The program works to make a lasting impact in neighborhoods where it operates by detecting and deescalating potentially violent conflicts, intervening with those most likely to commit violence or become victims of violence, and mobilizing communities to change norms.
Cure the Streets is based on the Cure Violence program model, which employs credible individuals who have deep ties to the neighborhoods in which they work. Outreach workers and violence interrupters work to de-escalate conflicts, resolve disputes through mediation, and prevent shootings from happening. They also stay engaged with high-risk participants after a mediation to ensure a lasting peace and to connect them with the services – mental health, job training, and food – they need to live healthy lives.
The Cure Violence public health approach to violence reduction has had success in cities across the country. But it is not a solution by itself. Rather, Cure the Streets and other community-based violence prevention efforts are a needed piece in a much larger effort to reduce crime and violence, that includes the critical work of police, prosecutors, more involvement in trauma reduction services, and workforce development. Those larger efforts to improve public safety also should include aggressive gun safety reform, holding individuals accountable when they commit crimes and changing their behavior, so they are less likely to reoffend in the future, and addressing the root causes of crime in our communities – including poverty, hopelessness, and trauma – to break the cycle of violence.
OAG launched Cure the Streets in the summer of 2018. In December 2019, four additional sites began preparing for operations. Since January 2020, it has been fully operational in six distinct geographic areas in Wards 5, 7, and 8.
- Click here for more information about where the program currently operates.
- Cure the Streets is funded by OAG through grants to community-based non-profit organizations, which implement the program. OAG staff manages the grants and conducts ongoing monitoring of preliminary data on the sites.
- OAG also recently highlighted some of the people behind Cure the Streets in this Medium post.
OAG’s Work to Protect Public Safety & Reform the Justice System
As the District’s prosecutor of crimes committed by juveniles, AG Racine has worked to protect public safety and implement evidence-based reforms that lead to better outcomes for children and for the community. Over the past six years, AG Racine launched the nation’s first restorative justice program within a prosecutor’s office, worked with MPD to overhaul the way MPD treats children during arrest, and expanded use of diversion and truancy programs to better serve the needs of children and parents, among many other efforts.
AG Racine has also advocated for reforms in the adult justice system. In 2018, he led a broad, bipartisan coalition of 38 attorneys general in calling on House leadership to enact the First Step Act. AG Racine also strongly supported local legislation that allows judicial review of long sentences for individuals who committed crimes when they were younger than 25 years old and who already have served at least 15 years of their sentence. In 2020, he filed an amicus brief opposing the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia policy of prosecuting felon-in-possession gun cases in federal court rather than local court, arguing that this would lead to over incarceration and disproportionately harms Black residents in the District.