This case study is part of the Reimagining Public Safety Impact Updates Resource, which highlights successful programs in cities, towns and villages across the country. View the Reimagining Public Safety Initiative to learn more about NLC’s work in creating safe, equitable communities for all. This is one of three municipalities illustrating Community Violence Intervention, in which credible community members establish relationships with individuals most impacted by violence through street outreach and violence interruption efforts.

Newark, NJ (pop. 311,549): Newark Community Street Team (NCST) 

The Newark Community Street Team (NCST) was founded in 2014 as part of Newark’s community-based violence reduction strategy. NCST employs a holistic, evidence-based, trauma informed approach to violence reduction: partnering with the Brick City Peace Collective, NCST employs 39 high-risk interventionists (HRI) and outreach workers as highly trained conflict mediators trusted by their communities. Since November 2020, NCST has held monthly Public Safety Round Tables (PCSTs) to provide safe discussion space with multiple agencies in Newark’s communities most impacted by violence. Focusing primarily on the South and West Wards of Newark, NCST takes a comprehensive approach to community engagement and violence intervention.

NCST also operates Newark’s Trauma Recovery Center, an Eviction Prevention Team, a school-based Safe Passage Program and a Hospital Based Violence Intervention Program as well as a Victim Services Department. In 2022, NCST launched an Overdose Response Team. NCST’s Community Sentinels Leadership Program is a key tenet of their community violence intervention approach, with community member volunteers acting as first responders to low-level quality of life issues in South Newark (such as loitering or personal/school-based disputes). Emphasizing cross-generational learning, the program nurtures community bonding and leadership opportunities to guide students through a multi-disciplinary program focusing on issues like conflict resolution and self-esteem. The program has led nine cohorts of students from 2020 to 2023, and over 100 community members have completed training to become Community Sentinels since 2021. The High-Risk Intervention (HRI) team’s primary responsibility is to respond to community-based violence incidents based on referral from the community or law enforcement. HRI connects those engaged in violence to supportive counseling, crisis intervention assessment and mediation, referrals and resource information to restore peace and avoid arrest and incarceration. HRI maintains communication with the Newark Police Department and responds to hundreds of dispatches annually.

Over the course of each month, NCST case managers meet with their assigned mentees 3.5 times on average, spending about 1.5 hours together per session. Since 2020, NCST has relocated 122 individuals from high-risk environments to provide individual healing opportunities and community-level crime prevention. From November 2020 to April 2024, NCST has hosted 37 monthly PCSTs attended by a total of 6,251 people. In 2022, NCST was awarded a $2 million grant from DOJ to expand its crime reduction efforts in Newark.

Key performance metrics collected include:

  • Number of outreach workers and high-risk interventionists trained per year
  • Number of mentees enrolled in case management per year
  • Number of relocations
    Number of public safety round tables and attendance
  • NCST overdose response Narcan kit distributions and reversals
  • Number of community sentinels and student cohorts
  • Qualitative interview data from residents and participants on the impact of NCST

Acknowledgements for contributions and review from Lakeesha Eure, Deputy Mayor, Public Safety, Newark.

View the Reimagining Public Safety Impact Update

Learn more about what different cities have done to support public safety, including qualitative and quantitative measures highlighting the impact of community responder models, group violence interventions, hospital-based violence interventions and community violence interventions.