'PeaceMobile': an anti-crime project on wheels

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on February 16, 2021 - Duration: 02:39s

'PeaceMobile': an anti-crime project on wheels

The 'PeaceMobile' is a neighborhood symbol of pride on wheels to help prevent gun violence in the under-served New York City neighborhood of South Jamaica in Queens.

Freddie Joyner has more.

'PeaceMobile': an anti-crime project on wheels

A bright orange symbol of hope on wheels is rolling through South Jamaica, Queens in New York.

It's called the PeaceMobile.

Its creator says this big orange bus exists to curb gun violence and mediate conflict by offering mental and wellness services in the community.

Erica Ford is the founder of Life Camp Inc, which stands for Love Ignites Freedom through Education.

"We provide jobs, we provide health and wellness to young people, giving them both conventional and unconventional therapeutic service // We see it very important to not only go out in the street and take the gun and stop the incident, but to help that person heal from what made them think that the gun was the resolution to the problem that they had." Young people would gather inside the PeaceMobile to use the meditation lounge, punching bag, video game area and even a recording studio.

But because of social distancing, Ford now uses her vehicle to meet other community needs.

“...we've given out boxes of food, along with 100 Suits today to the community, to those who need.

We're giving out PPE, masks, hand sanitizers and other things that they need to stay healthy doing COVID and just help the community." Since the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020 and the protests that followed, political and community leaders have been debating the role of law enforcement and how to reduce violence without police.

LIFE Camp works with New York City's Crisis Management System, a network of more than 60 anti-violence community groups with financial backing from the city.

According to New York City's Office to Prevent Gun Violence, from 2010 to 2019, CMS contributed to an average 40% reduction in shootings in the neighborhoods it serves.

Jessica Mofield, the Executive Director of the Mayor's Office To Prevent Gun Violence, say such a program can provide role models to show at-risk young people alternatives to violence.

"So our intentionality behind this is really to be able to not only provide first chances for our young people, but really to provide them with relationships that they respect, that they trust." Ford said her dual efforts to prevent gun violence and to help others heal from it offer a model for success.

“...We've gone up to 562 days where absolutely nobody was shot.

And so we know by those small numbers of success that those things can be duplicated if invested.

If we invest in what works, we can see even more success.”

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