(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, as part of #SaferStrongerDC Week, Mayor Bowser opened the Safer Stronger DC Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement and announced Delbert “Del” McFadden as the executive director of the office. The Safer Stronger DC Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement will focus on community-oriented, public health approaches to violence prevention, recognizing that reducing crime is not accomplished solely through law enforcement.
“Improving public safety requires more than just the police. Violence prevention requires everyone’s support—families, community and faith-based organizations, and government agencies,” said Mayor Bowser. “With this office, we will be removing barriers to opportunity, directly engaging some of our hardest to reach and most at-risk residents, and connecting more residents to the services they need to thrive.”
The Safer Stronger DC Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement is located at 100 42nd Street, NE in Ward 7. Staff from several other agencies, including the Department of Human Services, the Department of Employment Services, and the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, will be co-located at the site in order to increase the services available to residents.
The office will focus on:
- coordinating the District’s overall violence prevention strategy and programs;
- identifying, recruiting, and engaging individuals determined to be at high risk of participating in or becoming a victim of violent crime;
- collaborating with other District agencies and nonprofit organizations to provide immediate wrap-around services to victims and families affected by violent crime;
- identifying priority neighborhoods and Police Service Areas (PSA) with high trends of violent crime and connecting residents in those neighborhoods and PSAs to services through a streamlined approach;
- developing positive relationships with youth and young adults using recreational and other positive behavior reinforcement activities; and
- coordinating with District agencies and community-based organizations to develop programs that focus on employment and job-training opportunities.
In addition, the office will be hiring individuals to serve as violence interrupters to work with community members who are at the highest risk of becoming the victims or instigators of violent crime. The violence interruption strategy involves mediation and de-escalation of personal or neighborhood feuds that can turn violent.
The Safer Stronger DC Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement was created as part of Mayor Bowser’s fiscal year 2018 budget in order to consolidate the work being done by the Safer, Stronger DC Community Partnerships Office and the Community Stabilization Program under one executive director. Additional investments funded by the Mayor’s budget include a pilot program between the Metropolitan Police Department, the Department of Behavioral Health, and the Department of Human Services to jointly respond to calls for service involving individuals experiencing mental health or substance abuse crises. The goal of this pilot program is to provide individuals with the services they need rather than arresting them.
Del McFadden is a community organizer and educator with experience implementing evidence-based violence prevention and intervention programs in Washington, DC. During a long career at Collaborative Solutions for Communities, located in Ward 1, McFadden served as the coordinator for numerous intervention programs, including Weed and Seed, Project Safe Neighborhood, and the Citywide Coordinating Council on Youth Violence Prevention. In more than twenty years of service, McFadden has made significant strides in advocating for disadvantaged youth, and he has a track record of building cross-sector collaborative relationships with government agencies, community-based organizations, and stakeholders groups.
Year-to-date, the District has seen a 29 percent decrease in robberies, a 21 percent decrease in assaults with a dangerous weapon, a 14 percent decrease in homicides, and a 29 percent decrease in burglaries. Overall, violent crime is down 24 percent. These reductions in crime follow a nine percent decrease in total crime during Mayor Bowser’s first two years in office.
Throughout #SaferStrongerDC Week, the Mayor will continue highlighting new and innovative programs that make Washington, DC safer and stronger.