CAMBA has been deeply involved in meeting the emerging needs of Brooklyn communities since 1977. At the end of 2015, CAMBA launched the BIVO program (Brownsville In Violence Out), in direct response to the disturbingly high rate of shootings in Brownsville. BIVO is part of the national evidence-based Cure Violence model. Since the pilot, shootings decreased in our catchment area each year through 2019. This success is attributed both to the commitment of CAMBA staff and our close working relationship with Brownsville’s 73rd Precinct. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic’s economic impact, combined with social unrest following the senseless and tragic killing of George Floyd, shootings increased in 2020. In an effort to bring the community together and find solutions to reduce the violence, the 73rd Precinct in partnership with BIVO, other nonprofits and city agencies, organized a Block Takeover from December 8-12. The Takeover was by the local organizations who offered information on jobs, education and housing, with the police withdrawing from their usual posts within the two block-radius of the takeover. Building community relationships amongst neighbors and providing struggling families with needed resources is a proven method to reducing stress, discord and violence. The pilot, known as The Brownsville Safety Alliance, was considered a success by all, including the community, the 73rd Precinct and City Hall.
CAMBA’s BIVO Cure Violence program was an integral part of this initiative. The BIVO team are “Violence Interrupters” who know and are well known by the community. Their function is to seek out and respond to requests for help, and step in to resolve conflicts before they reach a critical or violent stage. BIVO brought out their signature spin wheel and engaged community residents as they went about their day. Throughout the week, hundreds of people stopped by the BIVO tent to try their luck at the spin wheel and won BIVO swag, gift cards, and even a dance battle with our Violence Interrupters. The BIVO team distributed books, food, personal protective equipment, and flyers to other valuable resources available to Brownsville residents. As always, our thanks to the BIVO Team, for partnering with so many local partners and the 73rd Precinct to increase safety and community in Brownsville.