'Cease Fire' program aims to help stop violence in New Orleans

Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Criminal Justice Commissioner James Carter were joined by community and faith-based leaders at Israelite Baptist Church as CeaseFire New Orleans announced that it has fully launched its Central City operations. CeaseFire New Orleans is a community-based violence prevention and interruption program launched by Mayor Landrieu as a part of the City’s Office of Criminal Justice Coordination under Commissioner Carter. The program uses street level outreach and conflict mediation to reduce incidences of homicide and gun violence in strategically chosen target areas. CeaseFire New Orleans is an initiative of the City of New Orleans, operated by the Urban League of Greater New Orleans.“My number one priority is reducing violent crime and murder,” said Mayor Landrieu. “We know that we can all be safe if we work together to help change behaviors that result in violence. The culture of death and violence is not acceptable. Together, we must reject violence as an acceptable response to solving problems.”Commissioner Carter said, “One of the goals of CeaseFire New Orleans is to instill a sense of hope in this Central City community. We can have a Central City free of fear, free of hatred, and free of shootings and killings. We must interrupt the violence.”The funding for CeaseFire New Orleans’ community mobilization and public education campaign comes from a Baptist Community Ministries Transom grant. The Chicago Project for Violence Prevention and the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation has also provided funding. Operational funds are provided by the City to Urban League of Greater New Orleans.New Orleans Saints player Malcolm Jenkins also contributed to the effort. He stated, “Not long after being drafted to the New Orleans Saints, I had the pleasure to work with the organizers of CeaseFire under the previous name of Solutions not Shootings.From that time to today, I have admired their leadership and dedication to save their city and its youth. In that spirit, while we work to reduce violence in our streets, we must also encourage our youth to help their neighbors and neighborhoods become stronger and better. It does not take a lot of money, it takes a lot of love. On behalf of The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, where it is our goal to work with our youth to strengthen character, and develop service and leadership skills, it is an honor to join CeaseFire and the City of New Orleans in this team effort to reduce violence in our city and to improve the lives of our teens and young adults.”At the September 2011 Saving Our Sons Crime Action Summit, Mayor Landrieu made a commitment to pursue and fund the CeaseFire model at a level of $250,000. This commitment contributed to the implementation of a CeaseFire program in Central City that community members and institutions have worked to get off of the ground since 2010. In January 2012, Mayor Landrieu committed an additional $500,000 to expand implementation of Ceasefire New Orleans into an additional neighborhood – St.Roch.