Reverse Gang Violence Through Ex-Gang Members
Studies show there are roughly 800,000 gang members in the United States and 57 percent of gang members are located in the nation's larger cities. One statistic cited that 40 percent of homicides in 1994 in Los Angeles County were committed by gangs. In 2018, 30 percent of New York's homicides were gang related, happening largely in the Bronx. Gang violence wreaks havoc on communities, particularly jeopardizing youth, and creates division between law enforcement and residents.
Addressing dangerous networked behavior isn't as straightforward as increasing security and bringing more gang members to trial. It takes one to know one; it takes credibility and experience to be respected in gang circles, which is exactly the strategy Urban Specialists employs. Founded in a hotbed of gang activity (Dallas), Urban Specialists capitalizes on the cultural credibility of ex-gang members and former offenders to take a three-pronged approach to replacing the destructive influence of gangs with positive urban messages. They call it the 3-I Model: Invade, Intrude, Institute. They show up in the gang strongholds. They learn the depths of the community's needs. They bridge the gap between urban culture and organizations with services and resources that can help.
The results are astonishing. For the last 20 years, the inside out approach of Urban Specialists has successfully altered the course for 17,752 urban citizens who were headed down a dark path. Over 219 businesses and organizations are connected with Urban Specialists' mission, partnering with over 1,119 advocates who are disrupting negative forces and instilling positive messages in our nation's urban cultures.