Front Page   »   The Strategy    »    Initiatives

Initiatives

From prevention and intervention to enforcement and rehabilitation, New Orleans is fighting back to protect our families and make every person in our city feel safe.

The pillars of NOLA for Life are really simple:

Stop the Shootings

We're focused like a laser on the small percentage of young men who are killing and being killed. Our message to them: Stop the Shootings.

Supporting Initiatives

  • CeaseFire New Orleans
  • Group Violence Reduction Strategy
  • Multi-Agency Gang Unit
  • Project Safe Neighborhoods

Invest in Prevention

We cannot arrest our way out of this problem. NOLA FOR LIFE puts a heavy emphasis on helping our young people and families succeed.

Supporting Initiatives

  • Midnight Basketball Learn more »
  • Supporting Schools in Implementing Trauma-Informed Approaches
  • Expanding the Use of Restorative Approaches in Schools
  • Family Violence Prevention Strategy
  • National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention
  • NOLA FOR LIFE Fund
  • NOLA FOR LIFE Services Collaborative
  • NOLA FOR LIFE Services Collaborative Pilot Project
  • NOLA FOR LIFE Mentoring
  • Building Character in NORDC Summer Camps
  • Engaging Fathers
  • Connecting Students To Supports
  • Making Connections to Improve Health and Well-Being
  • Behavioral Interventions at the Youth Study Center
  • Youth Engagement Strategy
  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
  • NOLA FOR LIFE Resources Mobile Website

Promote Jobs & Opportunity

Neighborhoods that experience the highest levels of violence also experience high levels of poverty and unemployment. Training and better access to good jobs provides a path away from violence and toward opportunity. That is why Mayor Landrieu has created a strategy to address Economic Opportunity, which connects disadvantaged job seekers and businesses to new opportunities.

Supporting Initiatives

  • NOLA Youth Works Summer Jobs Program
  • NOLA FOR LIFE Reentry Strategy (RISE - Reintegration Services) Learn more »

Get Involved & Rebuild Neighborhoods

To make New Orleans safe, everyone needs to get involved to rebuild our neighborhoods. We need everyone to have skin in the game.

Supporting Initiatives

  • Fight the Blight Learn more »
  • Collective Efficacy
  • Quality of Life Stat
  • NOPD Community Policing
  • Public Awareness Campaign
  • NOLA FOR LIFE Days

Strengthen the NOPD

Strong police work combined with help from the community prevents violence in our neighborhoods and quickly holds those who commit violence accountable. 

Supporting Initiatives

  • Enhancing Relationships Between Youth and Law Enforcement
  • NOPD Leadership Training
  • Proactive Hot Spot Policing
  • Improve Community Trust With The Use Of Procedural Justice

All Initiatives

Behavioral Interventions at the Youth Study Center

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of mental health counseling that helps participants become aware of their inaccurate or negative thinking. CBT is designed to help individuals view challenging situations more clearly and respond to those situations more thoughtfully. There is strong evidence that CBT, even delivered over periods as short as several days, is an effective behavioral intervention for violent and at-risk youth. In 2016, the Youth Study Center will begin delivering brief CBT interventions to juvenile detainees.

Building Character in NORDC Summer Camps

Evidence shows that teaching young people social and emotional skills can reduce violence. Positive Action is an integrated and comprehensive program that is based on a unifying broad concept: one feels good about oneself when taking positive actions. Using cognitive techniques, Positive Action promotes decision-making skills and increases self- and community efficacy. The program emphasizes effective self-management, social skills, character, and mental health, as well as skills for setting and achieving goals to encourage positive outcomes in targeted youth. The curriculum is began being implemented in NORDC summer camps in 2015.

CeaseFire New Orleans

CeaseFire New Orleans uses violence interrupters and outreach workers, with street credibility, to interrupt and resolve potentially violent situations before they escalate. In New Orleans, this national model, includes staff based in the Central City neighborhood and a Hospital Crisis Intervention Team at the University Medical Center Trauma Unit. Together, the CeaseFire team works to prevent retaliatory shootings and reduce the number of murders by mediating ongoing conflicts between groups, carrying out hospital-based responses, and supporting individuals through case management.

Collective Efficacy

Collective efficacy at the community level is defined by attachment and mutual trust among residents of a neighborhood and their willingness to intervene on behalf of others’ well-being. Neighborhoods with high levels of collective efficacy are able to work together to reduce violence. The Health Department will launch a collective efficacy study in a sample of New Orleans neighborhoods to determine a baseline and to inform strategies for encouraging and supporting community based efforts to reduce violence.

Connecting Students To Supports

Too often schools see their students become victims of violence. At the same time, students who face academic, school discipline or attendance challenges while in school may become more likely to become involved in violence. The City, local charter management organizations and other partners will work together on a pilot to define the appropriate risk factors and identify students who are the highest risk for being involved with violence.  A set of coordinated supports and interventions will then be available for these students to reduce their risk factors and strengthen protective factors.

Engaging Fathers

Research has shown that kids and families fare better when fathers, whether residing at home or not, are actively involved in their lives. Children with highly involved fathers are much more likely to experience positive outcomes across multiple domains including: cognitive development, emotional development and well-being, social development, physical health, and fewer negative child developmental outcomes. In order to support NOLA FOR LIFE participants as they navigate parenting and seek to develop healthy relationships, the Health Department is launching a Fatherhood pilot using the Parents as Teachers (PAT) curriculum.

Enhancing Relationships Between Youth and Law Enforcement

Youth need to trust law enforcement; at the same time, many police officers yearn for positive interactions with young people. This strategy aims to foster positive relationships between youth and law enforcement as a strategy for youth violence prevention. In partnership with NORDC, NOPD will launch a teen sports league that allows for positive interaction between youth and police. In addition, forums for structured dialogue between youth and police officers will be held. These dialogues will help participants break down stereotypes and communication barriers, while building mutual respect and understanding.

Expanding the Use of Restorative Approaches in Schools

Restorative approaches are an alternate discipline strategy that emphasize the reparation of harm and relationship-building over punitive discipline. There is evidence to suggest that restorative approaches can reduce suspension rates and improve school climate. Over the past two years, the Health Department (NOHD) has supported the Center for Restorative Approaches (CRA) in providing training to school staff and community members in restorative approaches. As part of the project, CRA has trained over 60 individuals as facilitators of restorative circles in schools, and CRA and CRA-trained volunteers have facilitated over 100 restorative circles at schools around New Orleans. As one of the top referring schools, Karr High School is receiving assistance in the implementation of whole school restorative approaches during the 2015-16 school year. 

Family Violence Prevention Strategy

Family violence and homicide are often closely connected and childhood exposure to family violence can lead to a variety of psychological and physical problems. The City of New Orleans seeks to interrupt the cycle of family violence by infusing violence prevention programming in the WIC nutrition program. Adult WIC participants are screened to assess risk of intimate partner violence are provided a referral to the New Orleans Family Justice Center (NOFJC) for appropriate further services. The screening initiative is now standard practice at City-operated WIC sites. In addition, the Health Department is piloting positive parenting training programs — Triple P-Positive Parenting Program and Play Nicely — that are designed to teach parents skills to help them build strong, healthy relationships with their children.

Fight the Blight

Blight threatens public safety, lowers property values, holds back neighborhoods and degrades quality of life. By reducing the number of dangerous, blighted properties, neighborhoods can be revitalized and become safer places to live. Lot Maintenance Plus is a proactive, place-based response to blight, concentrating grass cutting in six targeted neighborhoods that were selected by a data-driven process that focuses on homicide statistics and code enforcement cases. The grass is cut by members of the NOLA FOR LIFE target population, providing them with employment opportunities and wrap-around services. Over 1400 properties have been cut and maintained since August 2014. In addition, overall blight reduction efforts will be coordinated to focus on NOLA FOR LIFE target neighborhoods. Concentrating efforts means that there will be a visible, tangible impact.

Learn more about Fight the Blight »

Group Violence Reduction Strategy

The Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS) is an approach that balances strong consequences for street groups involved in murder with a firm commitment to help individuals who want to turn their lives around. This strategy is based on the belief that violent crime can be prevented when the cost of committing the crime is perceived by the offender to outweigh the benefits. GVRS targets geographic areas of high crime and groups that commit violent acts. The GVRS is comprised of three major components: community collaboration, organized service provision and focused law enforcement.

Improve Community Trust With The Use Of Procedural Justice

For too long, a few corrupt cops have caused much pain and agony to the people of New Orleans. Today, with strong allies in the hundreds of honest cops who honorably protect and serve, the City of New Orleans is charting a new path forward with a New NOPD. Since 2010, the City has strengthened the NOPD Public Integrity Bureau by appointing a civilian leader who has two FBI agents detailed to the office. Plus, there is additional oversight of the department from the Independent Police Monitor and the Office of Inspector General (OIG). Furthermore, the NOPD has also added an additional emphasis on procedural justice with new training that highlights the importance of fair, impartial, and unbiased police conduct. With continuous improvement in mind, the NOPD just released new training documents which aim to better educate officers on the importance of ‘selling the stop’ through clear communication and fairness during investigations.

Making Connections to Improve Health and Well-Being

The New Orleans Health Department, as a grantee of the Making Connections initiative, has assembled a group of stakeholders invested in improving the health and well-being of African American males by gathering community feedback and developing community level strategies for addressing trauma, disconnection and isolation, as well as false perceptions of masculinity. This will strengthen community-level protective factors for African American men and boys, as well as connect them to behavioral and physical health resources.

Midnight Basketball

Midnight Basketball provides safe recreational opportunities in crime hot spots for young men who are most at risk of being victims or perpetrators of violent crime in New Orleans. During 8-week seasons, participants are connected to positive role models, community resources, jobs and educational opportunities. The free basketball tournament was launched in January 2012 as part of the Saving Our Sons initiative. Today with support from community partners and sponsors, Midnight Basketball has touched over 10,000 participants.

Learn more about Midnight Basketball »

Multi-Agency Gang Unit

In 2012, the Multi-Agency Gang (MAG) Unit was formed by Mayor Landrieu and is the key enforcement component of the Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS). The MAG Unit conducts simultaneous investigations on known violent groups. The goal: secure state and federal prosecutions of these groups and remove large numbers of violent offenders from the streets. The New Orleans Police Department is the lead agency of the MAG Unit.

National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention

The National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention (the Forum) is a network of communities and federal agencies that work together, share information, and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence. Established by President Obama in 2010, the Forum brings people together from diverse backgrounds to learn about the crisis of youth and gang violence in the U.S. and to build comprehensive solutions on the local and national levels. The goal of the Forum is to build community capacity to prevent youth violence. Supported by the Forum, the City of New Orleans developed the NOLA FOR LIFE PLAYbook: Promoting Life for all Youth, which is a strategic plan to prevent youth violence in New Orleans. The PLAYbook is designed to improve youth safety by addressing risk and protective factors for youth violence and coordinating resources for youth.

NOLA FOR LIFE Days

NOLA FOR LIFE Days create quarterly opportunities for citizens, volunteers and community partners to improve the quality of life in crime hotspots. In advance of the day-long community revitalization events, City agencies, along with the New Orleans Police and Fire Departments, coordinate to complete critical infrastructure upgrades. Hundreds of volunteers are rolling up their sleeves to address a range of issues threatening public safety in neighborhoods across the city.  

NOLA FOR LIFE Fund

Civic engagement and community support are essential parts of the overall effort to reduce murders in New Orleans. The NOLA FOR LIFE Fund, managed by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, makes grants to local organizations to immediately increase their capacity to serve the highest risk individuals in our community. The Fund solicits donations and awards grants to community-based organizations that support violence prevention programs for young males between 16 and 24 years of age.

NOLA FOR LIFE Mentoring

The NOLA FOR LIFE Mentoring initiative works with existing community organizations to provide healthy mentorship relationships for young males in New Orleans at risk of exposure to or involvement in violence. The initiative has established best practices, policies and tools to support high-quality mentoring for these youth. 

NOLA FOR LIFE Reentry Strategy (RISE - Reintegration Services)

Approximately 6,500 offenders are under probation or parole supervision in New Orleans. An estimated two-thirds of this population will commit new crimes and one-third will be re-incarcerated within three years of their release. Working with community partners, the City of New Orleans has developed a comprehensive reentry strategy to reduce the recidivism rate in Orleans Parish. Through formalized partnerships between key City departments, members of the criminal justice system, business, civic and faith-based communities, the City has developed a reentry strategy and pilot program for reentry employment with at least 100 adult ex-offenders and adjudicated youth.

Learn more about NOLA FOR LIFE Reentry Strategy (RISE - Reintegration Services) »

NOLA FOR LIFE Resources Mobile Website

The NOLA FOR LIFE Resources Mobile Website is designed to raise awareness and enhance access to behavioral health, primary care and social service providers for the NOLA FOR LIFE target population.  The website allows users (service providers and the public) to identify services available near a given location, provides a service feedback loop, and allows for continual updating of provider information. 

NOLA FOR LIFE Services Collaborative

The NOLA FOR LIFE Services Collaborative is a cohort of 20 social services organizations who have committed to developing a continuum of services for boys and men of color at risk for involvement in violence in New Orleans. The Collaborative convenes 4 tables to address the relevant service needs of youth, high-risk youth, high-risk young adults, and adult returning citizens with regards to prevention, intervention and rehabilitation.

NOLA FOR LIFE Services Collaborative Pilot Project

In December 2015, the NOLA FOR LIFE Services Collaborative launched a pilot project for high-risk 14-18 year olds who have been affected by violence. The pilot will test the efficacy of the common intake and assessment tools, evidence-based case management standards and how youth benefit from a formal provider collaborative. The project is the final phase of a Promise Community Partnership grant awarded to the City of New Orleans in March 2014 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop a continuum of care for young men of color – a grant that was fully matched by the City’s NOLA FOR LIFE Fund. 

NOLA Youth Works Summer Jobs Program

The Mayor’s 2015 NOLA Youth Works Summer Jobs Program was a multifaceted effort that provided 960 summer employment opportunities for youth ages 14-21 with rewarding summer work experiences at private companies, non-profit organizations and other entities. In addition, specialized programming was provided to 57 adjudicated or court involved youth. Program components included Work and Learn, Signature, Athletics & College, Junior Camp Counselor, Traditional and Intern NOLA. Furthermore, in partnership with JOB1 and the City’s Office of Workforce Development, 10 NORDC summer teen camps offered local teenagers career exploration seminars in a variety of job fields. 

NOPD Community Policing

NOPD has rededicated itself to community policing efforts and made community policing part of the department’s core mission. NOPD has rapidly improved the department’s communication and partnership with the community.

NOPD Leadership Training

In the spring of 2012, the highly respected International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) trained a total of 100 NOPD leaders in the Leadership in Police Organizations (LPO) trainings in two, separate 3 week sessions. In 2013, the NOPD partnered with IACP to provide additional training to 14 NOPD leaders who subsequently shared the LPO training with NOPD supervisors in 2014 and 2015. To date, over 200 supervisors have received the training and additional sessions are planned for 2016. Also in 2015, 25 of NOPD’s senior leadership completed the Fair & Impartial Policing training, sponsored by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an evidence-based decision-making framework that improves school climate by helping schools develop systems to use data for decision-making and problem solving, arrange the environment to help manage the development and occurrence of problem behavior, as well as teach and encourage pro-social skills and behaviors. PBIS shows promise as a violence prevention strategy because it promotes school climates that are positive, safe and engaging, keeping kids in school and out of harm’s way. The New Orleans Health Department, in collaboration with community partners, has provided training and technical assistance to three New Orleans schools to build their capacity to implement PBIS.

Proactive Hot Spot Policing

Since November 2001, the NOPD has used Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) to proactively focus on high-activity crime hot spots following the installation of the state-of-art crime analytic software package “Omega Crime View.” Since the start of 2012, the NOPD has developed and used an additional mapping strategy called Data Driven Violent Crime Trends (DDVCTS). DDVCTS focuses Omega Crime View analytics on homicides, shootings, gun arrest and drug arrest. This proactive approach maps crime trends and drives daily deployment strategies to target even more discrete “hot spots” of violent crimes in the city. However, the goal is to go beyond simply arresting violators, but broadly work with the community to promote a sense of order in these specific problem areas. The goal is to have the community and police work together hand in hand and take back the hot spots from the criminals.

Project Safe Neighborhoods

In the summer of 2010, the New Orleans Police Department along with our federal partners at the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Attorney and the Orleans Parish District Attorney re-launched Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). The NOPD dedicated eight new detective positions to this project, a dramatic increase from the one PSN detective that was assigned in the summer of 2010. The initiative held violent offenders accountable by making over 950 cases. 

Public Awareness Campaign

Murder’s impact is wide, deep and does not just affect victims and perpetrators. All of New Orleans suffers because of this violence. Indeed, New Orleans is losing an entire generation of young black men to the streets. The NOLA FOR LIFE public awareness campaign, designed pro bono, by filmmaker Spike Lee, is meant to be part of a larger coordinated effort to start a broad conversation within the community about ways to stop the shooting and change behavioral norms about violence. Launched in July 2013, NOLA FOR LIFE Channel highlights the comprehensive movement to re¬duce the murder rate in New Orleans, Louisiana. The compelling original and existing content runs on Cox Cable Channel 99, airing diverse programming and the inspirational stories of young men who are taking the stand to turn away from violence.

Quality of Life Stat

In 2012, the Mayor created Quality Of Life Stat, the City’s first performance management tool for issues of public nuisance and quality of life. During monthly stat meetings City leaders, NOPD and members of the public work together to review important quality of life related issues in neighborhoods and brainstorm about how best to ensure that the City is hitting its marks, protecting neighborhoods and tackling important quality of life issues.

Supporting Schools in Implementing Trauma-Informed Approaches

Childhood exposure to violence is all too frequent. Exposure to violence is damaging to youths’ growth and development and increases the likelihood for involvement in violence later in life. Schools can play an important role in providing aid to students who are experiencing psychological trauma, thereby preventing future violence. In 2012, the New Orleans Health Department worked with New Orleans’ schools to create a process that links schools with counseling and victim assistance resources following a student-involved homicide. The City’s coordinated response to the tragic murders of children will continue, ensuring that schools have the critical resources that they need to respond to students’ grief and trauma. Building on this, the Health Department, in partnership with local experts in trauma, launched a learning collaborative in 2015 to support schools in implementing trauma-informed approaches. This collaborative effort is providing assistance for five schools to become trauma-sensitive schools — aware of the prevalence of trauma and capable of responding to traumatized students’ unique needs. 

Youth Engagement Strategy

When young people tackle a specific issue or social problem, their ideas and energy can contribute to improved outcomes related to that issue or problem. It is important for young people to have an influential role in shaping the policies and programs that impact them. The youth engagement strategy, with support from the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, creates opportunities for youth to infuse their voice in NOLA FOR LIFE programming, and it partners with youth on the implementation of violence prevention initiatives.