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Ceasefire is a data-driven violence-reduction strategy coordinating law enforcement, social services, and the community. The major goal is to reduce gang/group-related homicides and shootings. Ceasefire seeks to combine the best of community energies, social services, and strategic law enforcement to reduce gun violence associated with gangs/groups far more effectively than these entities operating alone.
In Oakland, data indicates that the majority of shootings and homicides involve gangs/groups. However, out of the approximately 50 violent groups in Oakland, only a small number are active at any one time and only a small subset of these groups—approximately 0.3% of the entire City’s population—is at highest risk of violence.
Ceasefire Oakland Is a Partnership
The Ceasefire Oakland Partnership Committee. The Partnership is made up of members from many communities, criminal justice agencies, and public and private organizations.
In 2012, a group of Oakland Community Organization (OCO) pastors, alarmed by the growing number of young men of color being killed on the streets of Oakland, met with city leaders to introduce a strategy called Ceasefire. The pastors believed that a strategy that had saved so many young lives in Boston could save lives in Oakland as well.
In October of that year, the Ceasefire Oakland Partnership was created.
Today it continues to communicate a powerful anti-violence message to groups and individuals at highest risk of gun violence.
Ceasefire Oakland Has Three Goals
|Reduce gang/group-related shootings and homicides|
|Decrease recidivism and incarceration rates of individuals participating in the intervention|
|Strengthen police-community relations|
Scroll down or click the links to find out more:
- How Are Ceasefire Oakland's Goals Being Met?
- Communicating with Gangs and Groups
- Is the Ceasefire Strategy Working?
- Procedural Justice and Police Legitimacy
- Services and Support
- Our National Partner
- Audiovisual and Media Links
- Contact Us
How Are Ceasefire Oakland's Goals Being Met?
Goal 1 - Reduce Gang/Group-Related Shootings & Homicides
Ceasefire focuses on the most violent gangs/groups and individuals who are at the greatest risk of shooting or being shot. We communicate directly with individuals through large group meetings ("Call-Ins") or by meeting with them one-on-one ("custom notifications").
Ceasefire includes community outreach, services and support and, when necessary, multi-agency law enforcement action focused specifically on gangs/groups and individuals who continue to engage in violence.
Ceasefire Commander Cpt. Ersie Joyner (center) leads meeting with Bay-Area local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Their specific focus is on those who continue to be involved in violent crime.
Goal 2 - Decrease Recidivism and Incarceration Rates
Outreach and services are provided by public and private entities, including Oakland Unite, Oakland Community Organizations, Brotherhood of Elders, The Mentoring Center, and other faith-based and community organizations.
As partners, we are working together to help participants make positive choices.
Stefania Kaplanes (Highland Hospital) and Peter Kim (Oakland Unite) discuss options for services for Ceasefire clients.
Goal 3 - Strengthen Police-Community Relations
Vital to the success of the Ceasefire Oakland partnership are community and faith leaders. They provide leadership from within the Oakland community and in collaboration with law enforcement to achieve the Ceasefire goals.
Rev. Dr. George Cummings, pastor of Imani Community Church and Chair of the Ceasefire Steering Committee, accepts the Neighborhood Champions’ Award, recognizing his work with Ceasefire Oakland.
The Following Partners Are Working Together To Achieve Ceasefire Oakland’s Goals:
Ceasefire Oakland supporters in front of Imani Community Church
Faith and community leaders including: Imani Community Church, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, At Thy Word, First Mt. Sinai, New Revelation Community Church, St. Benedict’s Catholic Church as well as faith leadership from various churches throughout the Bay Area.
Local, state and federal criminal justice agencies such as Oakland Housing Authority, Alameda County Probation, Alameda County District Attorney, California (CA) Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, CA Attorney General, CA Highway Patrol, U.S. Marshal, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and several local law enforcement jurisdictions work as a collaborative, focusing on individuals and groups most likely to be involved in violent crime.
OCO (Oakland Community Organizations) is a federation of congregations, schools, and allied community organizations. Through relationships, research and action, OCO leaders live out the call to serve one another and to seek justice.
Oakland Unite is a public safety collaboration whose programs target Oakland’s highest risk community members and neighborhoods, focusing on interrupting and preventing violence.
California Partnership for Safe Communities (CPSC) is a hands-on technical advisor working with Oakland and other communities on data-driven, partnership-based violence reduction efforts. CPSC's work in Oakland focuses on reducing gun violence and reliance on incarceration, improving police-community trust, and sustaining the Ceasefire strategy.
- Victims of violence provide personal testimony of how violence changed their lives during direct communication (Call-Ins and custom notifications) with Ceasefire participants.
- Residents of affected neighborhoods provide a voice and presence from their community through their participation in Ceasefire Steering Committee meetings and during direct communications.
- Formerly incarcerated individuals speak to young men and their families, advocating for peace.
- Local organizations and employers such as the Private Industry Council (PIC), Home of Chicken and Waffles, Oakland California Youth Outreach (OCYO), Civicorps, Oakland Rotary and others offer a path to employment.
How We Communicate with Gangs and Groups
Our focus is determined using data and real-time intelligence from weekly crime meetings. This allows us to communicate directly with gangs/groups and their associates that are engaged in violence. This direct communication includes Call-Ins and Custom Notifications.
Vaughn Crandall, California Partnership for Safe Communities, prepares clergy, community leaders, service providers and law enforcement agencies for a Call-In.
Call-Ins are meetings involving up to 20 participants on active probation/parole. These meetings reflect the full Ceasefire partnership — community leaders and members impacted by violence; outreach and support services; and law enforcement.
At Call-In meetings, individuals meet with affected community members and multiple law enforcement agencies.
|U.S. Attorney speaks to young men at risk of gun violence, stressing the consequences if convicted in the Federal system.|
|Pastor Jim Hopkins, Lakeshore Ave. Baptist Church, delivers a message of urgency, caring and hope to participants.|
Call-In participants are given a message of caring and the power of choice. They are provided with information to help them make informed decisions about their behavior.
Services and/or a path to employment are made available.
They are also informed about their risk of death and prosecution should they or their associates continue to engage in violence.
Employment and participation in services are not required. The only requirement is that the participants and their associates stop engaging in violence.
Direct Communication with Individuals at Risk
If specific attempts to alter the behavior of individuals fail, then focused, intelligence-based law enforcement is utilized.
Why Does the Strategy Focus on Gangs/Groups?
Crime Scene Technicians respond to homicide scene.
Our number one goal is to reduce gang/group related homicides and shootings. Most of the individuals at highest risk of violence are gang/group involved. Research indicates that 59% of Oakland’s homicides are gang/group related, and individuals in these networks are at highest risk of shooting or being shot.
Is the Ceasefire Strategy Working?
Homicides in Oakland
This iteration of the Ceasefire Strategy was implemented in October of 2012. Oakland experienced a 28% decrease in murders in 2013 and an 11% decrease in 2014. Murders in Oakland increased by 5% in 2015 while non-fatal shootings decreased by 18%.
Homicides and Non-Fatal Shootings Have Declined Since Ceasefire Implementation
The chart below shows how non-fatal shootings and homicides have fallen in the City of Oakland since 2012. Oakland began to see a reduction in shootings and homicides in 2013 and 2014 when Ceasefire was fully implemented.
Procedural Justice and Police Legitimacy
Procedural Justice is an evidence-based practice grounded in the research of Yale professors Tom Tyler and Tracey Meares. Their work has been incorporated into the Ceasefire strategy as one of many initiatives to strengthen community-police relationships. Procedural Justice Training is now required of every Oakland Police officer.
The goal of this training is to enhance positive interactions with the community. Unlike classes that focus on tactics, this course focuses solely on understanding the impacts of poor treatment of community members and giving officers practical principles to inform how they treat the community.
The practical principles taught in the class are intended to help officers both personally and professionally.
The 4 principles are:
- Giving people a voice (listening)
- Being fair/unbiased (in your decision-making)
- Being respectful (in your treatment of people)
- Providing a trustworthy process
Lt. Roland Holmgren administers an exam following Procedural Justice Training
Phase 1: Classroom
The first official class was held in May of 2014 and was attended by the OPD Chief and the command and supervisory staff. By the end of 2014, the course had been certified by the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST). As of June of 2015, all sworn staff had successfully completed the training. It is now a mandatory training for all new staff and OPD Academy students.
Phase 2: Application in the Field
Phase two of the training is the practical application of the principles in the field. To meet this goal, the Oakland Police Department released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a research partner to assist with application of these principles at shooting/homicide scenes. The research partner will also assist with the development of skills-based training for specialized units; those most likely to be in contact with individuals directly impacted by homicides and shootings. This grant-funded pilot project is expected to begin in 2017.
Services and Support
Intensive Services and Support
|Case managers and an employment specialist listen as a former gang member speaks of his experience, successes and hopes for the future.|
Intensive Services and Support - Intensive services and support are provided by faith-based organizations and are coordinated by Oakland Unite, a collaboration of City-funded efforts for those most affected by violence. For Ceasefire, this includes:
- Intensive commitment to individuals linking them to programs such as paid job training, substance abuse counseling, educational and legal support.
- Crisis response for shootings and homicides.
Community Night Walks
Rev. Damita Davis-Howard (L), organizer of Ceasefire/Lifelines Community Night Walks, leads volunteers on weekly walks to promote peace in Oakland’s most challenging neighborhoods.
Learn more about the Night Walks or call 510-639-1440.
Arnold Perkins of The Mentoring Center and Lt. Steve Nowak discuss Ceasefire strategies at a training in Chicago.
The volunteer mentoring program offers mentoring support for Ceasefire clients. This program, managed by The Mentoring Center in Oakland, provides positive support and direction for young men.
The focus is on character development, cognitive restructuring, spiritual development, life-skills training, anger management, and employability skills.
Interested in learning more about mentoring opportunities? Please contact Scott Blake at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our National Partner
Ceasefire Oakland works in collaboration with the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College. Our strategy is constantly informed by best practices and the help of The National Network for Safe Communities. This partnership enables Oakland and communities around the United States to adopt and implement strategies that have been proven to reduce violent crime.
Ceasefire Program Director Reygan Harmon (center) addresses the National Network for Safe Communities at the National Practitioners Conference at John Jay College
Audiovisual and Media Links
- Efforts to Reduce Violent Crime Are Paying Off - an in-depth interview with Chief Whent on KCBS, July 2014
- University Now; Prevention and Control of Crime - with Captain LeRonne Armstrong, Oakland Police Dept., 2014
- Ceasefire Community Walks with Rev. Damita Davis-Howard - Jane Tyska, Oakland Tribune, 2014
- Ceasefire Partnership and Goals - Pastors of Oakland, OCO video, January 2013
- Oakland Unite “Voices” video - Young men impacted by services & support
Articles & Books
- Oakland Finally Gets a Handle on Violent Crime - Ali Winston, Oakland Magazine, June 2016
- A Unified Theory of a Tough Town - James O'Brien, SF Magazine, June 2014
- Last Chance to Exit Street Life - Chip Johnson interviews two Ceasefire Oakland participants, SFGate, March 2014
- Steps Toward Peace; Ceasefire seen as cultural shift in Oakland - Brenda Payton, Contra Costa Times, Oct 2014
- Steps Toward Peace; Young men who are transforming their lives in Oakland - Brenda Payton, Contra Costa Times, Nov 2014
- Steps Toward Peace; Building trust between the community and the police department in Oakland - Brenda Payton, Contra Costa Times, Dec 2014
- Operation Ceasefire: Communities Tackling Crime - IIP Digital, August 2012
- Oakland Sees Biggest Drop in Homicides since 2004 - Harry Harris, Mercury News, Jan 2013
- Don’t Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship and the End of Violence in Inner-City America, David Kennedy, Bloomsbury Press, New York, NY, 2011
For more information, please contact Ceasefire Oakland Program Director Reygan Harmon, email@example.com, 510-777-8675.