What is community-based public safety?
“Community-based public safety” (CBPS) is the term its practitioners developed to describe the community-led safety work happening in neighborhoods across the nation. It is a relationship-based violence prevention and intervention model in which residents are employed and trained as credible, trusted public safety professionals who create safety in their own neighborhoods. CBPS professionals most notably (a) mediate conflicts to a peaceful resolution; and (b) guide those engaged in violence to different choices and healthier outcomes through high-risk interventions, assertive outreach, mentoring, case management, victim services and more. CBPS practitioners also often respond to low level crimes, provide Safe Passage to school, stabilize families and organize the community around a culture of peace.
CBPS work operates in parallel to law enforcement. However, in contrast to the system of policing, arrest, and incarceration CBPS creates safety without the collateral damage of incarceration. CBPS reduces city and state budget costs. And, CBPS improves relations between communities and police by engaging residents as participants and leaders in the public safety process. As a result, CBPS reduces violence and incarceration by keeping people from engaging in violence that leads to incarceration. In short, CBPS is a key missing link to building out a new approach to safety.
Policymakers and funders are pointing to the tremendous results of CBPS in cities like Los Angeles and Newark as they seek to expand and replicate CBPS programming nationwide. There are roughly two hundred CPBS organizations across the country. The majority have emerged through organic neighborhood leadership to save young people's lives from gun violence and incarceration. They hire people from the neighborhood - often people that previously have been engaged in violence or been incarcerated, people that bring immense credibility to changing outcomes for the target population.