Resource Development Associates of Oakland has issued its most recent evaluation of the effectiveness of Oakland's civilian violence prevention programs funded by Measure Y, now housed under the city office known as Oakland Unite. Spending money on these programs can be controversial. Some think all crime-fighting money should go toward a bigger and better OPD. Some like to say, "Well, you can't arrest your way out of our problems." Some say both a community-based violence prevention approach and a stronger police force are needed.
Prevention can be difficult to quantify. You can't necessarily count up the things that didn't happen, the retaliatory shootings that were prevented by Caught in the Crossfire, a hospital-based intervention program that works with young people wounded in the city's violence, or the turf group wars that didn't flare up because of the intervention of the Oakland Unite Street Outreach teams, which walk the city's most dangerous streets at the most dangerous hours trying to keep the peace.
One thing is for sure, civilian violence prevention is cheaper than more police. In the past, I've called it Oakland's Moneyball approach to public safety.
Anyway, it's all in the evaluation's summary, posted on Oakland Unite's web site, right here. I'll give it a closer look and write more about its findings if I can get over this feeling that no one cares if I do or not.