Program Aims to Prevent Gun Violence ‘Disease’

A New Orleans initiative identifies those in contact with shooting victims and tries to keep the violence from spreading.
by | April 4, 2011 AT 4:23 PM

Gun violence is a disease and prevention is the key to eradicating it. This idea is fueling the startup of the New Orleans-based program Solutions Not Shootings, which takes several measures to prevent the spread of gun violence, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. When a shooting occurs, the program’s “violence interrupters” -- highly trained individuals who are familiar with community life -- identify the people most likely to react in retaliation. It is the violence interrupters’ duty to track down and counsel the possible next shooter. Solutions Not Shootings also carries out “shooting responses” -- events posted on Facebook and Twitter following such incidents, which can include a prayer session, vigil, or march through the streets where the shooting had just recently occurred. SNS is modeled after the successful CeaseFire program in Chicago, which studies show resulted in 16 percent less gun violence in the city’s most dangerous areas and has been replicated in other cities. Unlike other programs, neither SNS nor CeaseFire offer tips to the police. Solutions Not Shootings is made possible with city funding, a faith-based foundation grant, and money from the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention, according to the Times-Picayune.