A National Conference to Build Better Partnerships to Reduce Gang Violence is planned for March 12-13, 2012 at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Submitted by: RECAP
Posted: Feb 13, 2012 – 10:00 AM EST
Embedded Video:Open Press Release Video
BOSTON, Feb. 13 /CSRwire/ - On March 12th - 13th police chiefs, department executives and ranking officers will join clergy, faith-based community institutions, and religious leaders to find ways to end the era of gang violence at a conference sponsored by RECAP, (Rebuilding Every City Around Peace, www.recapevents.org/). RECAP is a new national initiative mobilizing cities across the United States to end gang violence. The RECAP conference is designed to bring together constituencies that have often conflicted in the past – namely law enforcement and religious institutions – to help both see the critical role each institution can play in reducing gang violence when there is collaboration.
“We come to the table willing to collaborate with government representatives, other religious groups and community organizations willing to understand no one has all the answers,” says former New York and LA top cop Bill Bratton. “This takes committed leadership who understand the more partners that contribute, the better the ideas developed to help overcome individual limitations and hurdle tough community challenges.”
Rev. Brown agrees. “When you bring together these two strong constituencies to talk about building partnerships and collaborations, the door to creative solutions opens up, and opportunities to advance society in ways that weren’t possible before takes place.”
Rev. Brown a co-founder of the Boston TenPoint Coalition should know, as he was an integral part of the Boston Miracle of the 1990s, where clergy and police worked together to see a sharp decrease in street gang violence. “Moving forward takes embracing new ways and change; most importantly, it requires leadership that is willing to be held accountable, listen, and collaborate," says Bratton.
David Kennedy, a criminologist who has studied effective community policing in minority communities, comments, “Black and Latino churches have been critical to creating peaceful urban communities, speaking better than any other institution in the voice of both righteousness and forgiveness, both of which are critical to the struggle. “
With two hundred people from the law enforcement and clergy communities, including 50 major city police chiefs expected, this is a great conference to attend, sponsor, or exhibit as ending gang violence and restoring communities to peace is a great cause to support and be identified. RECAP is looking for individuals or organizations to help provide scholarships to clergy who are working in high crime areas to reduce violence, but lack the necessary funds to attend this important conference. It is great there are those doing this work, but unfortunately we have a wait list of those needing scholarships. RECAP is also conducting a national search for clergy who have programs designed to reduce gang violence in communities so they can receive recognition, share best practices, receive technical assistance and resources to help them improve or grow their program.
Many cities see gang violence as one of the leading causes of death for youth between the ages of 15-24, often driven by a small number of individuals. Usually one percent of the youth population in a city is responsible for 50% of the shootings and 70% of homicides and the individuals responsible are typically arraigned eight or nine times before they become a victim or perpetrator of a homicide. Cities are suffering the consequences from a decrease in public safety and quality of life to related law-enforcement expenses.
This increase in violence is occurring when cities have increasing budget pressures and as a result, mayors and police chiefs are seeking more cost effective approaches. Faith-based organizations can play an important role, as they have the indigenous leadership accepted by the community, are located in the targeted areas, have a volunteer base, and can complement law enforcement efforts at little or no cost.
According to Rev. Brown, “Police and community relations are abysmal in most urban communities. We hope to break down the barriers that have barred the police and the community from coming together at this event. By bringing together these two groups, both with active roles and networks in urban communities, we hope to learn how community organizations from around our country are building successful partnerships to achieve amazing results.”
RECAP will bring together experts and delegates for two days of sessions for training, sharing best practices and the latest research findings.
Scheduled speakers include: retired police chief Bill Bratton author of the new book Collaborate or Perish; Anthony Braga of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Rod Brunson of Rutgers School of Criminal Justice will present their new findings on how to improve police/clergy partnerships; Edward Davis, Boston Police Commissioner, Garry McCarthy, Chicago Police Superintendent and Frederick H. Bealefeld, Police Commissioner, City of Baltimore will share a chiefs of police panel; David Kennedy criminologist and author of “Don’t Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America;” Rev. Jeffrey Brown, co-founder of Boston TenPoint Coalition and RECAP convener, will present the first ever faith-based model for reducing gang violence; Chris Winship from Harvard’s Kennedy School, who has written extensively on the Boston Miracle; Christine Cole, executive director of the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management at the Harvard’s Kennedy School and Peter Zimmerman, also of the Kennedy School, who will lead cases and facilitate discussions; Byron Johnson noted academic and author of “More God Less Crime”; Rev. Michael McBride, Pastor of The Way Christian Center in Berkeley, Calif. and national director of the Lifelines to Healing Campaign at the National PICO Network; and Rev. Lisa Sharon Harper, director of mobilizing for Sojourners. Other speakers include senior leaders from the Department of Justice such as Mary Lou Leary, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Thomas Abt Chef of Staff to the Office of Justice Programs, Theron Pride, Senior Advisor, Office of Justice Programs and National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention and a representative from the White House Office for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. For a full list of speakers go to: www.recapevents.org.
This conference comes at an important time, when organizations from the local to federal level are becoming aware of the role religion can play in reducing violence and the toll gang violence is taking in terms of lost lives and financial costs. According to the 2010 findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5,764 kids between the ages of 10-24 were murdered in 2007 – an average of 16 per day. That’s more than the number of kids who died from cancer, HIV, heart disease and suicide combined.
It is more than the number of people killed on 9/11 (2,996) and more than the number of American lives lost in either Afghanistan (2,820) or Iraq (4,801) in ten years of fighting, and more than the number of people lynched from the century spanning from 1882 to 1982 (approx. 5,000). From a public health perspective, kids killing kids is an epidemic. The H1NI virus, classified as a pandemic, killed 3,642 people of all ages in all of North America versus the 5,764 kids who were murdered in 2007 in the US. Homicide is the leading cause of death for African Americans between the ages of 15 to 24 years, and is the second leading cause of death for Hispanic youths. The majority (84%) of these homicides involve guns and gangs. This human tragedy and these lost lives were 100% preventable.
The Vera Institute did an analysis on the financial cost of gang violence and calculated the criminal justice costs alone for the city of Los Angeles, including the related costs at the county and state levels, was approximately $1.145 billion per year. That doesn't include the public health care costs (e.g. each non-lethal shooting costs an average of $45,000 according to Chicago Ceasefire). It also does not include the costs to victims in terms of lost wages, medical and trauma related expenses. The money spent on gang violence related costs could go toward education and housing rather than for crime scene investigations and autopsies.
This conference is the first in a series with the purpose of helping the faith-based community play a larger role in reducing violence by partnering with law enforcement, the courts, schools, medical centers and the business community. RECAP is also in the process of developing eLearning materials to help provide training and technical assistance to communities looking to reduce the gang violence in their cities. There are still opportunities for exhibiting and sponsoring the conference.
For more information go to www.RECAPevents.org or contact Ben Abrams, firstname.lastname@example.org (781)-821-6741.
*Photo opportunities and interviews available upon request.