YAP, key part of mayor’s public safety agenda
DALLAS — The City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a contract with Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP) to hire and train violence interrupters in the city’s underserved neighborhoods.
The violence interrupters program is a key part of Mayor Eric Johnson’s public safety agenda. The Mayor’s Task Force on Safe Communities recommended the program in its January 2020 report. In September 2020, the City Council voted to allocate $800,000 in funding to hire violence interrupters during the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
“We cannot and should not rely on police alone to stop the violent crime increases in our city,” said Mayor Johnson. “Violence interrupters, which were highly recommended by my Task Force on Safe Communities, will stop conflicts before they become violent and can help our people and our neighborhoods to grow and thrive. That is why we are thrilled to partner with Youth Advocate Programs as we work to make our communities stronger, safer, and more prosperous.”
The vote Wednesday followed a months-long procurement process that identified YAP as the most advantageous proposer of three. YAP, which agreed to a two-year service agreement for up to $1.6 million, is a national nonprofit that runs violence interrupter programs but is also widely known for its family-based alternatives to youth incarceration and out-of-home placement.
YAP will hire people with credibility in Dallas neighborhoods to serve in the roles of violence interrupters.
Engaging Individuals To Reduce Violence
“YAP’s Violence Interruption approach engages individuals who are most likely to become perpetrators or victims of crime — some who have been systems involved and others who have not. Our service providers are credible messengers, people who have shared backgrounds and experiences and have turned their lives around,” said YAP President Gary Ivory. “These community-based YAP staff provide up to 10 hours a week connecting individuals and families with educational, emotional and economic tools. They’re in essence using their social capital to help those they serve build theirs.”
The Office of Integrated Public Safety Solutions, which is also helping implement the Mayor’s Task Force on Safe Communities’ blight remediation and lighting efforts, will manage the violence interrupters program for the City.
“Violence interrupters will be an important part of our larger strategy to reduce violent crime and make our city more equitable,” said David Pughes, director of the Office of Integrated Public Safety Solutions. “We are excited to begin working on this cutting edge, evidence-backed program right away so we can make an impact in our residents’ lives.”