Last year, the DC Council voted unanimously to pass the NEAR Act, which will promote public safety and reduce crime by focusing on community-based solutions that treat the root causes of crime. The NEAR Act enjoyed unprecedented support from communities across DC.
The heart of the NEAR Act is the creation of the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE), modeled on successful programs in New York, Baltimore, and Chicago. In Richmond, California, one such program led to a 76 percent reduction in gun-related violent crimes over a seven-year period. This program works by identifying residents at the highest risk of committing or being victims of violent crimes for participation in an intervention program that includes life planning, trauma-informed therapy, and mentorship. The program requires participants to create and execute a successful life plan that moves them away from the pitfalls of violent crime.
Despite this program’s demonstrated success, Mayor Bowser’s proposed FY18 budget removes language from the NEAR Act that would bring this proven stipend-based intervention to DC, eliminating a key opportunity to reduce violent crime.
On Tuesday, May 30, the DC Council will vote on the District’s budget for FY18, and whether to retain this crucial provision of the NEAR Act.