Department of Neighborhood Safety


Our people

Neighborhood Safety org chart updated December 2022

Programs and divisions



Mission and goals

The Minneapolis Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) uses a community-focused, public health approach to help reduce the impact of violence on our communities. With collaborative, public health-informed responses, we can help prevent violence, intervene in cycles of violence as they’re happening, support those impacted by violence, and heal from violence. We work to break the cycle of violence by addressing it at three points: before it begins, at the first signs of risk, and after it happens. To do that work, we have many programs and initiatives that fall under three primary approaches: evidence-informed strategies, capacity building and innovation, and youth-centered prevention and intervention. The OVP’s work is guided by several core beliefs:


  • Violence is not inevitable.
  • Violence is complex; it is about much more than individual characteristics and choices. Violence has roots in social, economic, political, and cultural conditions.
  • Complex problems require complex solutions. To effectively break cycles of violence, solutions must include long-term upstream approaches and immediate strategies to address pressing needs.
  • Violence takes an unequal toll on communities of color and on specific neighborhoods in Minneapolis.
  • Violence prevention must include work to address systemic inequities.
  • Everyone has a role to play in creating communities that don’t include violence; it takes us all to make our communities safe, healthy, hopeful, and thriving.

Services provided

Evidence-Informed Strategies: We rely on research and evidence. Scientific research points to potential effectiveness of some community violence prevention strategies. We have built local versions of evidence-informed interventions that have been used elsewhere across the country. Specific evidence-informed initiatives include:


  • Next Step: Next Step is a hospital-based program that connects victims of violent injury to resources and support. When someone is treated in the hospital for a violent injury, Next Step works with them on healing from the non-physical aspects of their wounds. Next Step staff provide immediate bedside support for participants and their families. Participants who want additional support with changing their lives and stopping the cycle of violence continue to meet with staff in the community after they leave the hospital. Next Step is a partnership with Hennepin Healthcare/Hennepin County, North Memorial, and Abbott Northwestern and is also funded by the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs.

  • Project LIFE/Group Violence Intervention (GVI): Group Violence Intervention (GVI) reduces street group-involved homicide and gun violence. GVI helps create accountability, fosters internal social pressure within groups that deters violence, and sets clear community standards against violence. GVI also offers a path for group members who want to leave the cycle of violence behind and resources and supports necessary to travel that path.

  • MinneapolUS Strategic Outreach Initiative: The MinneapolUS Strategic Outreach Initiative is a coordinated, public-health driven strategy that treats violence as a contagion and works to prevent and reduce community violence by stopping its spread. Teams of Violence Interrupters are a regular presence in parts of the city. They do not provide law enforcement services; instead, they use informal mediation, non-physical conflict resolution, and interruption expertise to prevent situations from turning violent. They also support behavior change for people who may be at risk for violence and connect people with resources to support them toward a path that does not involve violence. Cure Violence is one model of this kind of work.

Capacity Building and Innovation: We center capacity building and innovation. Scientific research and formal evaluation can sometimes exclude new, innovative, and/or grassroots community approaches. The wisdom and expertise of local community are powerful. We must be responsive to the needs and uniqueness of our local communities. And, we have a responsibility to help incubate promising new community-driven ideas. Specific capacity building and innovation initiatives include:


  • Blueprint Approved Institute (BPI): The Blueprint Approved Institute (BPI) is designed for individuals and smaller grassroots community organizations doing violence prevention work. Through BPI, participants learn skills and build capacity for further development of their organizations, receive funding to provide summer youth violence prevention programming with hands on support and technical assistance, and join a network of violence prevention provider peers.

  • Violence Prevention Fund: The Violence Prevention Fund invests in community-led strategies that address multiple forms of violence in diverse ways. It is built on the understanding that a successful citywide approach to violence prevention must incorporate strategies that are rooted in the experience and wisdom of community-based practitioners. Violence Prevention Fund activities have included things like community building, space activation, youth skills training, youth-led programming, leadership development, street outreach, trauma awareness and resilience work, restorative justice events, partnership development across organizations and systems, community meals, resource referrals, and more.

Youth-centered Prevention and Intervention: Our work’s roots are in youth violence prevention. We focus on reducing risk and building protective factors for young people. By centering young people, we can make a difference for today and tomorrow. Some examples of youth-centered prevention and intervention initiatives include:


  • Inspiring Youth: Inspiring Youth is an early intervention resource for young people (and their families) ages 10-17 experiencing factors that may put them at risk of involvement with violence. Young people are referred by schools and diversion partners. They’re matched with a Youth and Family Worker. That person serves as an additional pro-social adult in the young person’s life while also using deep knowledge of resources to navigate systems. The goal of that work is to promote protective and resiliency factors that can help buffer against risk factors associated with involvement with violence.

  • Youth Connection Center (YCC): Formerly called the Juvenile Supervision Center, the Youth Connection Center (YCC) provides supportive services, needs assessment, resource and referral, and community-based aftercare for young people ages 10-17 who encounter law enforcement for truancy, curfew, and low-level offenses. The YCC is a 24/7 resource shared by the City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Public Schools, and Hennepin County.

  • Youth Violence Prevention Week (YVP): The Office of Violence Prevention observes Youth Violence Prevention (YVP) Week annually. During YVP Week, we sponsor a diverse array of community-driven youth-oriented activities including sports tournaments, art and theater performances, healing circles, and educational activities focused on youth empowerment. The goal of this weeklong campaign is to raise awareness about violence as a public health issue and to educate youth, parents, teachers, and the community on effective ways to prevent or reduce youth violence.

To do all of this work, we depend on meaningful community partnerships. In 2021, approximately 75% of Office of Violence Prevention spending went to community through contracts. That included contracts with over 75 different partners.


Race equity impacts

Like in much of the country, the burden of many kinds of violence is not distributed equally in Minneapolis. An overwhelming majority of victims of gun violence in Minneapolis are People of Color. While individual factors can contribute to risk of violence, individual-level factors are not what drives disproportionality. Rather, the disproportionate burden of violence impacting People of Color is tied to complex societal-level conditions deeply rooted in structural inequities like redlining and disinvestment, discrimination, lack of economic opportunities, high concentrations of poverty, and under-resourced public services.


Office of Violence Prevention initiatives are designed to acknowledge the interconnectedness of systemic inequities and violence and address the complex structural conditions that can increase likelihood of violence. In that way, the work is inextricably tied to race equity work. Through Office of Violence Prevention initiatives, individual participants—the majority of whom are likely to identify as part of BIPOC communities—have increased access to resources and services that can help to mitigate some of the harm caused by longstanding structural inequities. At the same time, some OVP initiatives focus on community-level change, working to create community cohesion and other factors that can serve as protective factors to buffer against the harmful impacts of structural inequities. Additionally, some initiatives (e.g., Blueprint Approved Institute) support skill development and capacity building, which can help increase the overall amount of support services available to community and create economic opportunities for predominantly BIPOC-led organizations. Finally, people from BIPOC communities have traditionally been overincarcerated and therefore are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. While violence is the core focus, some OVP initiatives may also play a role in helping to divert people from further system involvement, thereby helping to interrupt the pipeline to prison and reducing potential for all the collateral consequences associated with justice system involvement.

2023-24 Council Adopted change items


Department of Neighborhood Safety - Behavioral Crisis Response Expansion

Program: Neighborhood Safety

Fund: General Fund

FTE: 0


Proposal detail and background

The Council approves $1,450,000 in 2023 and $2,900,000 in 2024 ongoing funding for the expansion of the 24/7 Behavioral Crisis Response (BCR) teams to staff one van per precinct. The additional staffed vans would allow for more services for residents and a quicker response.


Description of the change

BCR has taken roughly 1,600 calls in 3.5 months with two vans covering the entire city. Residents, 311, 911 and MPD have all testified that the overwhelming need for the service requires a BCR team in each precinct to keep up with the volume of calls. This funding would also allow residents, MPD and others that are assigned to a precinct to become even more familiar with specific BCR teams; therefore, building more trust and efficiency with City emergency response and public safety. The BCR work is provided by a contracted vendor and this funding will allow for the expansion of their services.


Equity impacts & results

This recommendation will reduce racial disparities (anecdotal/no data).


The racial impact that Behavioral Crisis Response Teams will have varies. The work will reduce the number of interactions that BIPOC communities have with MPD for behavioral health calls. This will lower the possibility of negative interactions with MPD and BCR teams are equipped to deal with mental health crisis. BIPOC communities played an integral role in the development of the BCR, along with data from service providers, internal and external stakeholders that wanted to make sure that racial and ethnic experience were centered in the development of the BCR.


Goal: To provide unarmed, mental health professionals as first responders for resident’s experiencing a behavioral health crisis.


Objective:

  • Crisis Intervention.
  • Counseling.
  • Referrals and connections to support services.

Metric:

  • Number of incidents responded to by BCR.
  • Number of backup requests by MPD for BCR and BCR for MPD.
  • Location of responses by precinct, ward, and neighborhood.
  • Resolution of responses.

Department of Neighborhood Safety - Continuation of Violence Prevention Activities

Program: Neighborhood Safety

Fund: General Fund

FTE: 0


Proposal detail and background

The Council approves $2.375 million in ongoing funding and $1 million in one-time funding to continue the violence prevention work expanded under American Recue Plan Act (ARPA) funding initiatives starting in 2024. ARPA appropriations expire at the end of 2023.


Description of the change

This recommendation provides ongoing funding for four violence prevention initiatives:


  • MinneapolUS Strategic Outreach Initiative, $1 million
  • Group Violence Intervention Technical Services, $125,000
  • Adolescent-specific Group Violence Intervention, $250,000
  • Community Trauma and De-escalation Initiative, $900,000
  • Violence Prevention Fund, $1,000,000 (one-time)

This proposal addresses the Mayoral priority of Public Safety. Effectively addressing violence requires a comprehensive approach that considers the complexity of the issue and works both upstream and downstream. The Office of Violence Prevention uses a public health lens to operationalize that approach.


ARPA funding has allowed for development of new initiatives, including: 1) Community Trauma Initiative; 2) Adolescent-specific Group Violence Intervention. Without City budget investment in those items for 2024 and beyond, they would cease after 2023.


Additionally, ARPA funding has played an essential role in increasing reach and availability of core OVP initiatives. That includes: 1) the Violence Prevention Fund, for which we recently received requests for more than ten times the amount of available funding for community-driven violence prevention activities; 2) MinneapolUS Strategic Outreach Initiative. This program currently serves a limited number of neighborhoods in the city .


Funds will support contractual services existing contractors and/or new contractors.


Equity impacts and results

This program will reduce racial disparities and is supported by rigorous, data-driven evidence.


The burden of violence is not distributed equally. In 2020, 81% of shooting victims in Minneapolis were Black, 10% white (including Hispanic people), and 4% Native American. In 2021 in Minneapolis, 86% of homicide victims in situations where race was known were non-white and/or Hispanic and 75% Black. While individual factors can contribute to risk of violence, individual-level factors are not what drives disproportionality. Rather, the disproportionate burden of violence impacting People of Color is tied to complex societal-level conditions deeply rooted in structural inequities like redlining and disinvestment, discrimination, lack of economic opportunities, high concentrations of poverty, and under-resourced public services (https://publichealth.jhu.edu/departments/health-policy-and-management/research-and-practice/center-for-gun-violence-solutions/solutions/strategies-to-reduce-community-gun-violence; https://efsgv.org/learn/type-of-gun-violence/community-gun-violence/; https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/riskprotectivefactors.html#Risk%20Factors; https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/10.2105/AJPH.2021.306540).


OVP initiatives acknowledge that and are meant to address complex structural conditions that can increase likelihood of violence. Participants—the majority of whom are likely to identify as BIPOC—have increased access to resources and services that can help mitigate some harm caused by longstanding structural inequities. Some OVP initiatives work to create community cohesion and other supports that can buffer against the harmful impacts of structural inequities. And, some OVP initiatives support skill development and capacity building, which can help increase the amount of support services available to community and create economic opportunities for predominantly BIPOC-led organizations.


The Adolescent-Specific Group Violence Intervention and Group Violence Intervention Technical Assistance funding would address the following program goal and associated metric:


Goal: People in Minneapolis experience a decrease in factors that put them at risk for involvement with violence and/or an increase in factors that protect against involvement with violence.


Objective: People participating in the Group Violence Intervention strategy are connected to resources to support exiting the cycle of violence.


Metric:

  • Percentage of individuals that participate in a custom notification or call-in who enroll in GVI services.
  • Rate of GVI participants that perceive that services resulting from the program brought them closer to exiting the cycle of violence.

The Violence Prevention Fund would address the following program goal and associated metric:

Goal: Community organizations and partners have capacity and resources to effectively engage in work to prevent violence using public health-oriented approaches. ​


Objective: The Violence Prevention Fund increases funding for community-driven violence prevention projects.


Metric: Number of projects in Minneapolis that use public health approaches to violence prevention/intervention.


The Community Trauma Initiative funding would broadly impact the program goal of “People in Minneapolis experience a decrease in factors that put them at risk for involvement with violence and/or an increase in factors that protect against involvement with violence.” There is not currently an objective or metric associated with the initiative, as it is new work. We will be working with our partners in the Health Department’s Research and Evaluation team to develop ways to monitor and evaluate this initiative.

Department of Neighborhood Safety - Youth Coordinating Board Summer Activities

Program: Neighborhood Safety

Fund: General Fund

FTE: 0

Proposal detail and background

The Council approves earmarking $50,000 of the Neighborhood Safety General Fund budget in 2023 to fund summer activities conducted by the Youth Coordinating Board.


Description of the change

These funds will cover the cost of one to two summer activities in underserved communities. While the City distributed ARPA dollars to many community groups, demand greatly exceeded supply. YCB will fund projects focused on helping children and young people re-engage, recover, and accelerate learning and development after the severe disruptions caused by the pandemic.


Equity impacts and results

This item will reduce racial disparities (anecdotal/no data).


Latino community members were not included in this past ARPA distribution process. These additional funds will ensure that they now have an opportunity to apply and secure funding to help improve young people’s lives.  Summer activities in underserved communities can be used as an engagement tool. They helps keep kids on the right path and serves as an investment in their future. These activities will also help reduce the education gap. Ward 9 has the biggest Latino community in Minneapolis.


Goal: Assist underserved community members with summer activities to improve education outcomes for the new school year. 

Objective: Keep students engaged during the summer. 

Metric: Results of the first quarter during the new school year. 

Neighborhood Safety Department

Expense and revenue information

Values prior to 2023 reflect the former Office of Violence Prevention program within the Health Department.

General Fund expenses

Special Revenue Fund expenses


Special Revenue Fund revenues


Neighborhood Safety Department

Expense and revenue visualizations

Values prior to 2023 reflect the former Office of Violence Prevention program within the Health Department.


Neighborhood Safety Department staffing information

The Department of Neighborhood Safety was formerly a program, Office of Violence Prevention, within the Health Department. Staffing numbers reflect transfers from Neighborhood and Community Relations.

See detailed information on department staffing in Schedule 5.