‘Not On the Same Page’: Community Crisis Intervention Program review shows only short-term success and lack of leadership

File photo: Portraits of loved ones of shooting victims, called co-victims, are displayed on three floors at Philadelphia City Hall in an exhibit curated by Zarinah Lomax called ''We Are Here: Stories and Expressions of Healing.'' (Emma Lee/WHYY)

File photo: Portraits of loved ones of shooting victims, called co-victims, are displayed on three floors at Philadelphia City Hall in an exhibit curated by Zarinah Lomax called ''We Are Here: Stories and Expressions of Healing.'' (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Working on a solution to gun violence and want to share it? Get in touch with gun violence prevention reporters Sammy Caiola and Sam Searles.

The Community Crisis Intervention Program has come under scrutiny in a recent report. At present, the program can’t move forward with many of the long-term changes needed to reduce further violence.

Since CCIP launched in July 2018, law enforcement and members of the Philadelphia Anti-Drug Anti-violence Network (PAAN) have worked in hotspots of the city. At its best, CCIP is supposed to connect with credible messengers in affected communities, promote resources, mediate disagreements before they turn violent, and keep tabs on those most likely to be involved in shootings.

The October review, commissioned by the Office of Violence Prevention, revealed that CCIP staff, while committed to anti-violence work, are not fully trained. They are often overwhelmed, and the report states, “not all on the same page”. They are also working without a director reviewing the entirety of the program.

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Last year, CCIP received $5.3 million in city funds, which gave some in the city pause. This summer, then-Controller Rebecca Rhynhart said that programs like CCIP were vital, but CCIP itself was not the best version of violence interruption: “It is a version… without performance metrics or evaluation. It is hard to see how that is working,” she said.

The evaluation concludes that the CCIP is “willing to learn” and improve, but it needs a more substantial infrastructure.

In a written statement, PAAN Executive Director George D. Mosee Jr. said that the nonprofit is experienced and “committed to implementing evidence-based practices to achieving [sic] a reduction in violence through our programs. [PAAN] are especially proud of having stayed the course, developing and implementing CCIP.”

Mosee continued by acknowledging the challenge of creating a new program during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide rise in violence. “We are pleased to be working closely with the city’s independent auditor on a review of our programs,” he said. “Anti-violence initiatives can only be successful with every stakeholder at the table, from city officials to peer organizations and community leaders. This report has redoubled our commitment to strengthening these partnerships.”

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According to the evaluation, CCIP can currently deliver only short- and medium-term solutions. Inconsistency and lack of preparedness make it nearly impossible to assist the public in reducing future violence.

If you or someone you know has been affected by gun violence in Philadelphia, you can find grief support and resources here.

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Sam Searles is a Report for America corps member covering gun violence and prevention for WHYY News.

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