The NEAR Act was the product of a District-wide conversation around policing and public safety. The law, which passed the D.C. Council unanimously, seeks to establish a framework to ensure residents safety while also addressing police abuses.
The Act aims to reset the conversation on policing to recognize that public safety can’t be produced through mass incarceration or racial profiling. It lays out the frameworks for establishing community-led violence prevention efforts
These programs have extraordinarily good results. Cities as diverse as Chicago, New York, Baltimore, and Richmond, CA, have seen between 40% and 70% reductions in shootings, sometimes in just one year. They work by empowering respected community members to act as conflict mediators, combining that with particularly tailored access to social programs to help people change their circumstances.
Organizers with Stop Police Terror Project-DC went into the 2017 with one overarching goal: fully fund the NEAR Act. It’s a goal we achieved in the spring of 2017 when the NEAR Act was fully funded in the FY 2018 budget, ending a multi-year campaign to enact this critical legislation. The law will deploy community-led tools that have brought down the rate of murders and shootings in cities across the country. It will bring innovative public health approaches to bear on community violence and drastically improve our data on police behavior.
Rather than leaving anything to chance, a District-wide campaign was launched to ensure the proper implementation of the principle elements of the NEAR Act as well. We’ve trained over 150 District residents in the specifics of the programs and the most pressing concerns in how the program is being established.
From these trainings, dozens of NEAR Act Ambassadors have gone out to ANC’s, community associations and their neighborhoods, enlisting people in a public advocacy campaign around implementing the NEAR Act.
The Bowser administration recently launched a website to track their progress implementing all 20 Titles of the NEAR Act. It's a good step, but raises many serious questions & concerns. Please find our grid outlining the areas that still need to be addressed here.
NEAR Act Resources
Stop Police Terror Project-DC has developed a number of resources to provide to the community on the history of the NEAR Act, statistics and materials to use for continued advocacy. All materials can be found here. For an individual list of materials see below:
Other Useful Resources:
Harvard Political Review: "Love Thy Neighbor, a Human(e) Approach to Reducing Gun Violence"
Cure Violence, the national model on which the NEAR Act was built
Richmond, California's Office of Neighborhood Safety website
Justice Police Institute: "Defining Violence: Reducing Incarceration by Rethinking America's Approach to Violence"