Central Florida has experienced an increase in homicides that mirrors a national trend. In response to the national trend, the White House and a growing movement of violence prevention experts have advocated to expand various models of Community Violence Intervention and/or Group Violence Intervention initiatives which, when implemented with fidelity, have reduced gun violence by 40-70%. For more details on the work and its impact, see the attached report, entitled "Effective Community Based Violence Reduction Strategies" issued in 2021.
With funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Families, Parks and Recreation Department (FPR) and Orlando Police Department (OPD) will collaborate to implement an evidence-based model of Community Violence Intervention (CVI). The work will be based upon research demonstrating that a fraction of 1% of people drive the majority of shootings and therefore, the model relies on highly targeted interventions with those at highest risk for shooting and being shot to steer them away from violence.
With technical assistance from national experts, OPD and FPR will develop a list of individuals who, applying research-based indicators, are at highest risk for violence. These individuals ("participants") will be referred to “Neighborhood Change Agents” (NCAs) who will intervene to disrupt situations when violence appears imminent, and maintain daily contact with participants, serving as mentors, case managers and life coaches. Their goal will be to pivot participants away from circumstances leading toward violence, and instead to non-violent, economically and socially productive lives.
The City will also sub-grant a portion of the funds to providers of various wrap around services, including but not limited to job training/placement; housing and other basic needs; mental health services; education; and so forth. NCAs will connect participants to these services as needed.
The overall goals of the program are to: a) reduce shootings and homicides in Orlando; and b) prevent incidents of gun violence among program participants. An independent evaluation will be carried out to measure the extent to which these goals are achieved.