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About Ceasefire

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Background

In 2022, Portland experienced a tragic record-breaking year with 95 lives lost to violence, surpassing the previous high of 89 deaths in 2021. This spike in violence was accompanied by a significant increase in shooting incidents, with over 1,300 reported in both 2021 and 2022, compared to 413 in 2019. Recognizing the alarming trend of young men of color being disproportionately affected by this violence, the City Council and Mayor took action. They invested in implementing the Ceasefire Strategy, a proven approach that has successfully reduced violence in cities like Boston, Baltimore, Tampa, and Oakland. Tailored specifically to address the needs of Portland's community, the Ceasefire Strategy delivers a credible anti-violence message to those most at risk of involvement in gun violence. Through targeted communication and intervention efforts, Ceasefire mission is to save lives and create a safer Portland. 

Introduction

Ceasefire is a nationally recognized strategy designed to reduce shootings and homicides, decrease incarceration and recidivism, and build positive police/community relationships. The Ceasefire Strategy uses data to understand who is at the highest risk of shooting or being killed. Ceasefire is a community-police partnership that includes clergy, street outreach workers, service providers, survivors of gun violence, the formerly incarcerated, and multiple law enforcement agencies. This partnership focuses solely on preventing shootings and gun violence incidents that have a high likelihood of retaliation. 

Since the implementation of Ceasefire in June 2023, the city has witnessed a notable 17% reduction in total shooting incidents compared to the previous 12 months. These statistics are significant as they directly reflect lives saved, aligning with our core mission to lessen the toll of senseless gun violence. Ceasefire partners are proactively reaching out to individuals at the highest risk of involvement in violence, employing direct communication, law enforcement measures, and facilitating access to essential services.

The Ceasefire Strategy

Ceasefire is a focused deterrence strategy aimed at addressing the most high-risk individuals in our community. It operates proactively and holistically, employing a harm reduction approach rooted in data-driven strategies and best practices. The goals of the strategy are to:

Reduce shootings and homicides: Ceasefire focuses on individuals who are at the greatest risk of committing violence or being the victim of violence. We communicate directly with individuals by meeting with them one-on-one ("Custom Notifications"). Ceasefire includes community outreach, services and support and, when necessary, multi-agency law enforcement action focused specifically on individuals who continue to engage in violence.

Decrease recidivism and incarceration rates of individuals participating in the intervention: Outreach and support services are provided by the Office of Violence Prevention, which coordinates a network of citywide community-based service organizations all dedicated to helping participants by offering real alternatives, resources, advocacy, and mentoring. Clear lines of separation between OVP, service providers, and law enforcement are a critical element to effective service provision and relationship-building with program participants.

Who is involved?