A New Vision of Public Safety for New York City

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What Folks Are Saying

"The New York Working Families Party is proud to support Tiffany Caban's visionary policy platform on public safety for the city of New York,” New York Working Families Party State Director Sochie Nnaemeka. “For far too long, New York has relied upon a public safety framework that centers punitive practices--ones that ultimately undermine, not build, community stability. Tiffany's proposals are bold and yet achievable, and will help make New York City a safer and more just place for all of our communities and all of our people."

“People are demanding alternatives to using mass criminalization to solve community problems brought on by decades of budget cuts and growing inequality,” said Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College Alex Vitale. “This document provides a concrete plan for how to do that. It’s going to play a central role in reshaping the conversation about improving public safety and in the process, change the political landscape of New York City.”

“To honor the lives of those stolen by police and state sanctioned violence, it is important we take the steps to reckon with racist policing and do the work to redefine public safety,” said New York State Political Director of Citizen Action of New York Stanley Fritz. “Tiffany's plan exemplifies reimagining public safety in a way that centers the voices of those adversely impacted by the justice system—a system that never intended to serve justice for BIPOC and TGNC communities.”

“Our fight has never just been about divesting from police and incarceration. It has always been about the critical investments Black and Brown communities need and have been denied. “Police, jails, and prisons will never keep our communities safe,” said VOCAL Action Fund Political Director Paulette Soltani. “Public safety must be reimagined entirely, government must be restructured, and a massive investment of resources must be prioritized to tackle the intersecting issues of poverty, homelessness, mental health, and drug use. New York City must build a public health and social services workforce to ensure housing, services, and care for all."


New York City must modernize our vision of public safety to fit the needs of the new century. Rather than spending billions on policing and incarceration, we should create and scale citywide, neighborhood-level, community-led safety initiatives. Ending our reliance on police is only a part of the solution – the bigger piece is properly funding the social services and basics people need for stability. Fully funding public safety means fully funding services that generate neighborhood stability and establishing a comprehensive and scaled-up non-policing emergency and crisis response apparatus instead of funding policing. It also means giving people in the community adequate resources and support to solve community-level problems.

This program calls for the development of neighborhood-level interventions that can be tailored to the needs of each of our city’s 51 City council districts. It includes proposals for: (1) Community Safety Centers, which will include family support, violence prevention, and mediation services; racism and hate response funds; and Crisis Intervention Teams; (2) Integrated Service Facilities with on-site safe consumption services, treatment programs, peer support, legal and case management support for housing, healthcare, immigration, and jobs; as well as support systems for people experiencing homelessness, including transitory housing, programs for safe respite, mail drops, showers, and referrals; (3) Enhanced counseling and health services, wraparound services, and restorative programming at every school, instead of police; (4) Non-police systems for responding to transportation or traffic-related issues; (5) Comprehensive mental health and crisis response services, including community-based treatment programs and a non-police 911 health care responder corps; (6) A Civil Life Corps that handles quality-of-life related matters and day-to-day issues that require resolution but do not warrant involving law enforcement, including a civilian Property Protection team that can provide advice on crime prevention, take official insurance reports, and authorize compensation for losses.

The paper includes examples of how these programs would be used, some of the community organizations who have already started doing this work, and names some of the agencies involved – though the plan will require new agencies and initiatives as well. We hope that this effort facilitates defunding the NYPD and eliminating the roles that the NYPD and incarceration play in New York City’s public safety. We highlight some of the community groups that could be scaled up as an alternative to policing, by defunding police and corrections and through downstream savings. Rather than evaluating the problems with specific units or budgetary avenues toward defunding policing and prisons, which will be explored in a separate paper, our goal is to promote conversations on public health approaches to public safety, and create the environment necessary for a world without policing.


New York City must fully fund public safety by investing in the things that create stability. This paper outlines a plan to center community voices, put people to work in their own neighborhoods, and uplift neighborhood-based initiatives that evidence shows will create more public safety than police and prisons ever could. Our campaign will engage in community discussions that facilitate coalition-building and help create a new City Council committed to the new vision of public safety our city deserves. We need solutions scaled to the size of the problem that is the policing-prison-industrial complex and mass incarceration. We need to fully fund public safety by fully funding our most impacted communities.

Police are tasked with responding to problems that they are ill-equipped to handle. That includes public health issues related to poverty, mental illness, substance use, sex work, domestic and sexual violence, youth violence, and more. Cities committed to long-term stability should listen to communities and activists, defund police and spend that money on communities and public health alternatives instead. This alternative system of investments would prioritize and scale public health approaches based on evidence, including non-police emergency healthcare responders, community-based-and-led safety initiatives, restorative justice programming, investments in liberation focused support personnel, violence prevention, and legal services that address housing, healthcare, immigration, disability justice and accessibility, employment, or indigenous community-specific needs, and other everyday issues. These kinds of investments would dramatically reduce the root drivers of problems the system currently defines as criminal behavior.

The modern American policing-prison complex has always been a system of social control designed to facilitate race and class exploitation. Slave patrols evolved through Jim Crow and broken-windows into the militarized police force we have today, and the overcriminalization of a range of social issues has caused the mass incarceration of disproportionately Black and brown people. There are 2.3 million people incarcerated in America; nearly half of the people incarcerated in New York state prisons are from New York City. More than 250,000 people are incarcerated in New York jails and prisons every year, including thousands who are being held in pre-trial detention merely because they cannot afford money bail.

We spend about $10 billion every year on policing in New York City – the 33rd largest military budget on the planet. That’s roughly $200 million per council district, each of which include about 160,000 people.

What do we get for that investment? New York City is overpoliced and over-incarcerated, and its elected leaders have systematically disinvested from communities historically oppressed by racist policies. Hundreds of people in our city have died due to police-involved activity just this past decade. Nationwide, there have been 5,000 police-involved killings since 2015, half of which involve someone with disability or mental illness.

Police disproportionately make arrests in poorer, non-white communities by criminalizing poverty, mental illness, substance use, and sex work. Prosecutors and courts then apply brutally harsh sentencing schemes, putting people in jails and prisons that exacerbate violence and do not help people through crises or prevent future crime.

For generations, this nation has refused to invest in the things that really keep people safe: housing, health care, job opportunities, community-led safety initiatives, and public health solutions to public health problems. Fully funding those programs is a better way to fully fund public safety.

Police do not solve most crimes and do nearly nothing to help survivors and victims. Rates of legal accountability for serious crimes hovers just above 10% based on the little data police make available, and most people who commit murders and rapes are not held accountable. Moreover, because police can manipulate data and even institute racist arrest quotas, clearance rates themselves seriously overestimate the actual rate at which people are held accountable when a crime is committed. If someone is in a situation where they need to call 911 because they are afraid for their life, police are unlikely to be able to help. The last thing survivors need is the perpetuation of harm that policing and prisons inflict; rather, most survivors and victims want services tailored to their needs.

What do we need to do as a society to prevent as many bad outcomes and reduce as much harm as possible? The answer is investing in services and resources that prevent bad outcomes from happening. People who have access to opportunity, who grow up in a stable environment, and who feel confident that their future is secure almost never commit a serious violent crime like murder. Tragedies will still occur, unfortunately, and society must hold people accountable when harm is done. But the system that exists today does not prevent or resolve these tragedies, and the system’s cost – the generational destruction of disproportionately poorer Black and brown neighborhoods – means the solution of policing and prisons is worse than the problem it is trying to address.

Our city has spent too many billions of dollars on an agency that uses gas on the people who live here, runs us over with cars, evicts us from our homes, tells us who qualifies as a journalist and who doesn’t, separates us from our families, deports us, rapes us, kills us – with no accountability. The solution to the problems of our time is not spending more money on racist, classist tools of oppression and violence.

Here are some of the community-led efforts that we could spend that money on instead.

Community Safety Centers

Despite massive spending on policing and jails, people do not feel safe. People living in New York City continue to experience domestic violence, youth violence, gun violence, and police violence. This section outlines Community Safety Centers, one-stop shops for community-led alternatives to criminalization that focus on violence interruption, restorative justice and services-based approaches, expanding on existing City programs like the Crisis Management System and community neighborhood-based approaches. Every neighborhood could have a non-police, community-based center for comprehensive crisis intervention, mediation, supportive services, and violence prevention.

In addition, police fail to respond to trafficking and instead criminalize sex workers in a way that prevents accountability for actual traffickers. Sex work is work and must be fully decriminalized; the government should have no place in the bedroom of consenting adults. Where people are concerned about harm to sex workers or orderliness, Family Support services could send teams capable of providing support for runaway and vulnerable youth, income supports for women in vulnerable positions, as well as trauma services for those surviving childhood sexual abuse.

We need to invest in comprehensive family support programs, peer support, youth violence intervention programs, youth job programs, credible messenger systems involving violence disruption by trained experts including people recently released from incarceration, community mediation, community violence centers able to meet the needs of 160,000 people in a Council District, and fully funded community-based crisis intervention teams that can prevent violence and de-escalate situations. Wherever possible these supports will be provided by trained and compensated members of the community who are closest to the problem. These services will be non-coercive – they will be offered to people, rather than required of people.

Family Supports

Community Safety Centers would include Family Support services that work with and in households to improve parent and child education, provide counseling, address gender violence with support and services, pursue disability justice and offer education and services, and help disadvantaged families or young people. Studies show that families who receive family-centered support are satisfied with the care they receive, and that such care can reduce incidents of child abuse or neglect in families by 29% or more.

Establishing family support centers in every neighborhood would ensure families can have access to healthcare information about their children, treatment from vaccinations to mental healthcare, peer support, counseling, legal aid, gender violence support, wraparound services, income supports, and intensive therapy as needed to help keep families together and reduce conflict.

New York has started these kinds of programs. But as happens all too often in our service provision sector, employee turnover has been high due to better salaries elsewhere. We must pay a staff of social service and care providers good salaries with benefits and socially prioritize funding for these programs, and ensure social service providers have the right to organize without retaliation. Despite ongoing fiscal challenges, the NYC programs have demonstrated significant success worth scaling: they can reduce child displacement from homes, and they can help families better prevent future incidents.

Example of Use: A parent is struggling with alcohol dependency and the family has experienced trauma. The family can come to the Community Safety Center for Family Support services. The parent can get medical care, individualized counseling, and parenting skills classes, while the center provides childcare and individualized support to help the child develop healthy coping mechanisms. All family members can access these services, and medical staff on-site will be available to answer urgent support questions 24/7.

Example of Use: A community member who recognizes a sex worker who seems to be underaged, or suffering from some physical or emotional harm is able to refer them to Family Support, who can support them through trauma services, housing, and healthcare services.

Example of Use: A person experiences intimate partner violence. They can come to Family Support for holistic services, counseling and access to legal support. If their immigration status depends on their partner, they can get an immigration attorney. If they have a child, the child can receive individualized care and tools to cope with the trauma. If they want to separate from their partner, Family Support can ensure they have a place to go and everything they need including facilitating access to housing, employment, healthcare, education and long-term support.

Agencies Involved

Department of Education (DOE), Human Resources Administration (HRA), Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD), Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS).

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Sex Workers Project, Safe Horizon, Anti-Violence Project, and others.

Violence Prevention Services

Young people are developing and vulnerable to trauma. This biology is mostly lost on the criminal legal system. Behaviorally, our brains develop through the age of 25 – yet police activity disproportionately involves going after young people. Young people who are acting out, exhibiting violent or antisocial behavior do not need police.

We must provide these young people with holistic wraparound services, and facilitate credible messaging programs like LIFE Camp, Cure Violence, and others that focus on public health approaches to youth violence and gender violence prevention. These initiatives work with young people by hiring people who are in the community and familiar with its intricacies and conflicts to develop individualized strategies that address young people’s needs, and the evidence shows they work – these kinds of programs can reduce shootings or killings by 70%. Violence interrupter presence consistently leads to reduced violence and reduced police involvement.

Example of Use: A young person is involved in an altercation with another young person. People in the area, friends and family worry the conflict will escalate into violence. Credible messengers from the community who have similar experiences and are engaged in long-term relationship building intervene. They work to establish processes and coping mechanisms that allow the young people to heal and to break cycles of violence. They help train the young people in de-escalation techniques, equipping them with tools to cool off.

Example of Use: Two young people get into a dispute at school. Violence interrupters respond to the school premises. The team goes in, and, if necessary, physically separates the two young people. The peer interrupters talk to the young people and help equip them with the tools to resolve the conflict. No escalation. No retaliation.

Agencies Involved

Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ), Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence (OPGV)

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Life Camp, 696 Build Queens Bridge, Rock Safe Streets, and others.

Community Mediation Centers

Police are often tasked with responding to non-criminal neighborhood-level conflicts, and it is a matter of luck whether the responding officer is both familiar with the people involved or their backgrounds and trusted enough to help de-escalate a conflict. Community-based mediation would enable trusted community members to resolve conflicts.

Evidence on community mediation centers shows that they lead to broader satisfaction than policing and prisons, and generate buy-in from community members. Neighborhoods that can mediate their own conflicts tend to engender their own stability, which is a recipe for longer-term success.

If members of a community are involved in a dispute over property, noise complaints, inappropriate conduct or some other hyper-local matter, other members of that community will be better equipped with the knowledge and understanding to resolve the conflict, particularly if we work with them on training and outreach so that every person knows where and how to resolve a conflict without involving law enforcement.

Example of Use: A bodega owner and group of teenagers are getting into weekly disputes about noise disturbances and roughhousing. A team from the Community Mediation Center would respond to the situation and engage the teenagers and bodega owner in a mediation process using a restorative approach that facilitates space for the young people to express themselves and develop tools of resilience while meeting the bodega owner’s need for a calm and safe environment.

Agencies Involved


Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Common Justice, and others.

Violence Mediation Centers and Community-based Alternatives to Incarceration

In the event violence occurs in the community, police are used as a blunt instrument – in other words, they perpetuate violence against the people involved. Rather than address instances of violence with policing and prisons, we could work with programs like Common Justice and others, proven to work and developed right here in New York City, showing the way on non-carceral alternatives to instances of violence.

We could establish centers that can meet the needs of the 160,000 people in each Council District. If there is an act of violence, the approach would aim to center restorative responses that bring impacted people together and center their needs. That will mean different forms of accountability than the carceral response; it will mean prioritizing helping survivors and victims as much as possible, working with survivors and victims of gender violence to address their needs and trauma, identifying the root causes that led to an incident and working to address it, providing clear and swift accountability that focuses on trying to make the community whole rather than throwing someone in a cage, and engaging in long-term holistic dialogue aimed at lasting resolution, if and when appropriate.

Communities will be empowered to develop individualized strategies to help heal wounds of violence rather than being forced to rely on policing and prisons as the only recourse.

Example of Use: A person is beat up, suffers a broken rib, and is robbed of his wallet. First, his needs are heard and affirmed, and he works with trained staff to develop a services and healing plan. Then, when he is ready, he participates in restorative justice circles with the person who harmed him and their respective support systems. He asks questions and gets answers, and they develop an accountability and consequences plan.

Agencies Involved


Example of Community Organization Doing This Work

Common Justice, and others.

Racism, Hate and Violence Response Funds

When a community goes through its worst days – enduring an act of racism, hate or violence, including gender violence – the primary response available to them is policing. But police perpetuate systemic racism and violence, including in responding to cases of racism and violence. Two wrongs do not make a right. Police are also often perpetuators of racist or hate-based violence. Instead of addressing racism, hate or violence with more of the same, we could establish funds that allow people who have experienced an act of racism or violence to receive compensation.

These funds would also allow people experiencing gender, youth or any type of violence to receive emergency funds, without police involvement. Emergency relief could help people get through difficult crisis situations, and the person could connect with additional Community Safety Center and Integrated Service Facility resources to access emergency housing counseling, peer support and other services they may need.

In conjunction with other programming aimed at restoring and helping people through services and support, compensation for acts of racism or violence can provide people with assurance that their trauma will not compound into further trauma based on new financial difficulty. And in a very real sense, receiving compensation for such an act can help provide closure and a sense of justice without the tremendous deleterious baggage of the policing-prison system. These Funds would also work to engage in a restorative justice process for offenders, and publish a report on the incident to reckon with and begin a reconciliation process. The system would provide victims with support needed to get through the crisis. Racist actions have systemic, racist roots. They are a product of our racist society and we have a collective responsibility to repair that damage.

Example of Use: A Black person who is bird-watching is subjected to racist insults and a police call, infringing their civil liberties and dignity. The person can turn to the New York Racism and Hate Response Fund and receive financial compensation for the emotional harm and life disruption.

Example of Use: A Muslim woman is accosted by someone for wearing a hijab at a local market. She could apply for financial compensation from the New York Racism and Hate Response Fund for any harm or trauma imposed by the event.

Example of Use: A mother who experiences abuse by the father of her children needs support but does not want him incarcerated. She could work with the appropriate support programs and apply for the New York Violence Response Fund and receive financial compensation.

Example of Use: An indigenous community has been denied relief for property theft. The community could seek a reconciliation and relief process through the New York Racism and Hate Response Fund, regardless of when the theft occurred, to engage in restorative approaches that seek to recognize harms done and work with the community to identify and pursue pathways to relief.

Agencies Involved

City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission, new agency

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Anti-Racism Response Network, mutual aids including Equality for Flatbush, Mutual Aid Fund for Sex Workers of Color, Flushing Workers Center, Astoria Mutual Aid Network, Queens Care Collective, Street Vendor Project, Make the Road, VOCAL, New Sanctuary Coalition, and others.

Non-Police Crisis Intervention Teams

When people are experiencing a crisis such as incidences of domestic, gender or youth violence, police are tasked with responding and addressing the situation. Too often, that response results in use of deadly force – but even when it does not, it can escalate the situation rather than resolve it. Civilian Crisis Intervention Teams (CITs) composed of violence reduction-focused de-escalation and behavioral health experts are better equipped than police to respond to these situations.

Expanding crisis intervention programs and training, including for existing programs like Intensive Mobile Treatment teams (IMTs), can help mitigate local problems without involving police by enabling trusted community members and experts to join and spend extensive time learning about crisis intervention. These teams could help respond to a case of domestic, sexual, community-based, or youth violence. The groups could work as violence interrupters, linked to social workers that help people who are in crisis. Members of the CIT would regularly interact with people in the community and people who come to the Community Safety Center, so that their arrival on a scene includes someone who is known to people involved in the incident. Trained experts on sexual, domestic or youth violence mitigation are more likely to be able to successfully intervene and resolve or mitigate these kinds of crises.

Example of Use: Two people in a long-term relationship are experiencing hardship, and one partner begins emotionally and physically abusing the other. CITs who are from the community and know both people respond to the situation, physically separate the pair if necessary, and engage them in a restorative process that centers the needs of both and ensures the person abused has resources, services and tools in place to feel safe and stable. They are connected to Family Support and other appropriate services for longer-term treatment.

Agencies Involved

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Community Access, Correct Crisis Intervention Today-NYC (CCIT-NYC), VOCAL, National Alliance on Mental Illness-NYC Metro (NAMI-NYC), and others.

Integrated Service Facilities

Our city could establish Integrated Service Facilities citywide that provide comprehensive substance use treatment, overdose prevention services, and legal support for housing, employment, or other issues that arise. Deeply affordable, sustainable housing is fundamental to stable neighborhoods. Rise of crime is highly connected to economic hardships including struggles to pay for rent or utilities. Our city has wasted money trying to incentivize affordable housing through private development for too long. In order to solve our housing crisis, we need to renovate and develop green, mixed income housing that every person can afford.

We must eliminate homelessness in our city by providing a home to every person experiencing homelessness. We must create and scale mitigation programs that provide people with a place for safe respite, mail drops, showers, and access to housing support services.

Housing Support Services

Housing precarity and homelessness are citywide crises. Right now, police are tasked with carrying out evictions and with responding to people experiencing homelessness, and the interactions frequently result in violence – whether it is removal or physical harm. Police disproportionately hurt or kill people who are experiencing homelessness, and should be removed entirely from responding to situations involving people experiencing homelessness and other housing issues.

Services facilities would include support for housing – transitory housing, arrears payment funds to keep people in homes, support to ensure people are shifted into the shelter system, legal services for residents experiencing problems with rent or their mortgage, and a centralized location for people to turn to when they go through displacement or housing problems. That will include beds, 24/7 support staff, and a direct line available through 911 operators when a housing issue arises, including options to help transport people and their belongings to a safe space.

Example of Use: A young person is kicked out of his home. They can immediately reach out to an emergency operator who will connect them to the local Integrated Service Facility and engage Housing Support to come pick them and their belongings up, provide them with a temporary safe space to sleep, and help them secure relevant legal counsel and support services.

Example of Use: An older couple is experiencing financial hardship and is no longer able to pay their mortgage. Their lender is threatening to take their home. They can contact Housing Support to connect with emergency rent and mortgage relief, as well as legal counsel and financial planning advisers to help chart a course through their housing precarity.

Agencies Involved

HRA, Department of Social Services (DSS)

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Fortune Society, Community Access, Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, The Doe Fund, Neighborhood Care Team, and others.

Safe Respite Homelessness Mitigation Programs

Police sweeping camps of people experiencing homelessness and making arrests does not solve the root issue, and makes the situation worse for the people involved. It also costs a tremendous amount of money to incarcerate people in jails or prisons. People who are in between housing need mitigation programs and access to a safe space for respite, including mail drops, showers, laundry and access to basics.

Ensuring guaranteed access to these kinds of services will mean every person has a place they know they can go to take care of daily needs. Outreach programs can connect trained experts with people experiencing homelessness to increase access to housing opportunities and transitory support systems.

Example of Use: A person is experiencing homelessness. They have a job interview coming up. They can come to the Safe Respite mitigation center to shower, clean their clothes, drop off and receive mail, rest for a short period of time and prepare for the job interview.

Agencies Involved

Department of Homeless Services (DHS)

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, Coalition for the Homeless

Substance Use Treatment Programs

People with substance use disorder are frequent targets of policing and end up incarcerated, even though incarceration often exacerbates problems related to substance use. Relapse itself is particularly dangerous after incarceration – people who are reentering are particularly vulnerable to returning to drug use and to overdosing. Police and prisons do not address or improve problems stemming from substance use disorder. Substance use treatment programs can.

Ensuring every neighborhood has access to comprehensive substance use care can help turn the tide of the opioid epidemic and the broader issues with substance use challenging our society. Treatment programs with inpatient and outpatient capacity can equip people with tools to cope with substance use issues, facilitate recovery, provide peer support, and ensure quality healthcare at every point of the recovery process. These kinds of programs may require years of proactive engagement with people to ensure long-term stability, because recovery is a lifelong process. Service facility treatment programs would be capable of engaged long-term care.

We must also look at the underlying forces that drive harmful substance use. Long term unemployment, untreated mental health problems, unaddressed childhood traumas all play a role and could be addressed through better access to stable incomes, high quality mental health services, and trauma counseling.

Example of Use: A person is struggling with opioid dependency. In the course of the pandemic, they have used opioids multiple times after years of sobriety. They recognize they need help, and engage with loved ones to reach out to the Substance Use Treatment Program to receive counseling, treatment, and inpatient treatment followed by outpatient care.

Agencies Involved


Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Make the Road, VOCAL, Injection Drug Users Health Alliance, and others.

Overdose Prevention and Safe Consumption Services

Safe consumption services are a core component of saving lives in the midst of the opioid epidemic and its effect on HIV, hepatitis and other infectious diseases. Safe consumption services are particularly important during public health crises including a pandemic. Overdose prevention services including supervised consumption sites and the accompanying treatment programs have demonstrated substantial success wherever they are implemented. These facilities prevent overdose deaths on-site, and reduce county-wide overdose death rates by about 30%.

This kind of intervention is a core aspect of reducing the tens of thousands of overdose deaths nationwide and the thousands of deaths in New York City. In addition to the moral imperative, there is strong fiscal sense in establishing safe consumption services. Overdose prevention sites cost roughly $2 million per site, and studies show they save some $6 million per site in downstream healthcare costs.

These sites are medical facilities that could be created in order to cope with an ongoing epidemic, providing preventative measures from narcan to clean needles to condoms. We could build on existing local efforts and establish these facilities as quickly as possible.

Example of Use: A person purchases intravenous drugs, but is worried about impurities that could lead to overdose death, and does not have access to a clean needle. They can go to a Safe Consumption Services facility for a clean needle, as well as have the drug tested for purity to eliminate the risk of overdose and other health related complications. They can use at the facility, and in the event they do experience health complications, on-site medical personnel can apply life-saving treatment like Narcan. When the person leaves the facility, they take Narcan and other treatment information with them to share with their community.

Agencies Involved


Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Injection Drug Users Health Alliance, Make the Road, Vital Strategies, VOCAL, and others.

School-Based Support Instead of Policing

We need school counselors, not cops. School Safety Agents (SSAs) do not help our students’ education, and they do not even make young people safer – if anything, the presence of SSAs leads to the increased likelihood of arrest or upcharging minor problems into serious legal issues, and research shows Black students are monitored more closely and punished more frequently than white students, beginning at pre-school.

SSAs and invasive security measures including metal detectors should be entirely removed from schools, and the School Safety Division should be disbanded. Instead, our city should spend that money on individualized, targeted strategic resource investment in students and teachers, including social, emotional and mental health support staff for students and families, that can help ensure every young person has the opportunity to succeed. Guaranteeing young people have access to counselors and supportive services both increases their chances of success and keeps our communities healthier and safer. Restorative programs and wraparound services address problems in student’s lives without subjecting them to school discipline or juvenile detention proceedings that only make things worse.

Counselors and Medical Staff Funding

School Safety Agents are police in schools that are supposed to promote student safety but in practice end up over-policing disproportionately Black and brown students. Although young people do not misbehave at different rates based on race, the presence of police in schools means a Black student is 2.3 times more likely to be arrested for an incident than a white student.

In our school system, which is among the most segregated public systems in the nation, this kind of disparity means some schools have police who send young people to jail, while others do not – for the same conduct. Evidence shows that students who have experienced trauma or emotional distress frequently do not have access to counseling services. Yet lack of adequate funding for school healthcare staff during the pandemic means cops are helping take students’ temperatures.

Schools should be centers for learning. Students need counselors and nurses to receive comprehensive emotional and physical healthcare. Every school should be equipped with a staff of trained healthcare experts who can provide students with whatever treatment they need or identify appropriate follow-up for care outside of school. We should replace school police with counselors, nurses, and medical staff that can ensure our children can receive the care that they need to learn effectively.

Example of Use: A group of students has escalating interpersonal relationship problems at school. One-on-one consultations reveal they are experiencing various issues driving their conflict. A team of school counselors work with the students to teach them how to build healthy relationships with one another, understand how and why the conflicts arose, and develop tools together on acceptable ways to identify and resolve conflict. Where appropriate, family members are engaged for Wraparound Services.

Agencies Involved


Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

The Door, NAMI-NYC, Community Access, Dignity in Schools, and others.

Individualized Targeted Strategies

Schools that spend money on policing should instead invest in individualized targeted strategies for students. Evidence shows that these kinds of strategies can increase graduation rates dramatically, and facilitate future education and employment opportunities.

Targeted supportive services including mental health specialists, learning and physical disability specialists, gender and youth violence prevention experts, trauma experts, and additional support systems are better equipped to help young people learn and succeed than police. Supporting students in this way will not only better address crises as they unfold, they can prevent crises from happening in the first place and can ensure students are on the path to self-sustaining and socially beneficial lives.

Example of Use: A social worker identifies a student who is experiencing mental health difficulties that result in disruptive behavior in the classroom. The social worker works with the student to address the root issues in an individualized setting. The worker consults with a team including counselors, teachers and other experts to develop a holistic plan that addresses the student’s needs, and engages in a long-term effort to help resolve them.

Agencies Involved


Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Understood, Dignity in Schools, The Children’s Aid Society, ARISE Coalition, Make the Road, and others.

Youth Restorative Justice Programs

Violence prevention has to start early. When police intervene, conflicts are escalated and can result in discipline or even arrest. Effective violence prevention and restorative justice programming should be available at all points of the day. Restorative programs can resolve conflicts rather than imposing violence to force them to stop.

Restorative justice programs and mediation experts can de-escalate conflict and facilitate resolution through dialogue. These kinds of interventions are longer-lasting and equip students with tools to cope with future situations. Addressing the root problems leading to violent incidents with support and restorative approaches will facilitate broader social change in how we approach violence, and develop systems for intervening at developmental stages that are historically most closely associated with violent or antisocial behavior currently addressed through policing, detention and incarceration.

Example of Use: Two students have an altercation that ends in a fistfight. A team of restorative justice experts works with the students to talk about the circumstances leading to the conflict, the issues in their lives that need addressing, and when appropriate a consensual dialogue that aims to resolve the conflict and equip the students with language and processes to de-escalate future conflicts.

Agencies Involved

MOCJ, Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD)

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Restorative Justice Initiative, El Puente, Girls for Gender Equity, VOCAL, Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project, and others.

Wraparound Services

Students exhibiting behavioral problems often receive escalating discipline and, when police are involved, may eventually become entangled with the criminal legal system. This response exacerbates crises and creates new ones. Just as police are incapable of resolving long-term mental health problems, police cannot resolve the multiple forms of trauma young people can experience.

Every school should be equipped to provide wraparound services. That means schools need staff with family support experts who can engage teams including family members to help students overcome problems impacting their ability to learn. Incorporating family and loved ones into the support process is critical to ensuring long-term success, and can help equip family members with tools to support students in their home environment.

Example of Use: Students in an altercation receiving individualized strategies identify family problems as a source of their in-school issues. Wraparound Services engages families and loved ones with holistic long-term counseling and skills training to address out-of-school issues that arise and lead to or exacerbate student conflict.

Agencies Involved


Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Coalition for Community Schools, Network for Youth Success, North American Family Institute-New York (NAFI-NY), and others.

Non-Police Traffic Safety

Evidence shows police do not contribute to traffic safety. Police should be removed from traffic-related enforcement. Traffic violations can be handled by civilian teams, non-biased automated systems and concerted education-based outreach. Where necessary, teams of non-police unarmed responders can assist in emergency situations.

Transportation safety must include comprehensive investment in street infrastructure, free public transportation and urban planning that makes our streets safer, including bike lanes and safe open spaces for pedestrians.

Non-Police Traffic Responders

Police involvement in traffic response is one of the most dangerous areas of civilian-police interactions. People have been killed for reaching for their driver’s license, arguing their innocence, or simply being in a car with a panicking police officer nearby or as a result of a high speed chase. About 11% of police-involved killings in 2015 occurred during traffic enforcement, with disproportionately Black victims.

Writing tickets is not worth lives, and there are better ways to enforce traffic safety rules. Non-police traffic responders, including a Department of Transportation Collision Investigation Squad, could operate in teams to respond to emergency situations on the road, and call in additional support in the event of medical situations. Removing police from these situations would eliminate a high-risk area of police-civilian interaction. Traffic responder teams of experts trained in de-escalation, auto mechanics and first aid provision are better options for roadway emergencies.

Example of Use: A reckless driver causes a collision. A Collision Investigation Squad would examine the circumstances and causes of the collision, and compare it to automated system and city-wide data. A team of experts would work with the drivers involved to address the root causes behind the collision, provide the drivers with services to get through the trauma, and sustain outreach to prevent future collisions.

Agencies Involved

Department of Transportation (DOT)

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Transportation Alternatives, Families for Safe Streets, and others.

Driver Safety Education and Outreach

Police react to driver incidents but do not prevent future incidents from occurring – the key to prevention is teams of civilian responders trained in de-escalation coupled with outreach and education.

When a person demonstrates they are incapable of obeying the rules of the road, they should be held accountable and prohibited from driving but not prevented from earning a livelihood – we need alternative transportation mechanisms in place sufficient to ensure people can get where they need to go without driving. The Outreach program could work with people with suspended licenses to ensure problems are not compounded. And it could engage in long-term, relationship-based educational programming that works with individual drivers to achieve sustainable change and safe approaches to road travel.

Example of Use: A new driver operates their vehicle recklessly on their way to work and endangers a pedestrian, and their license is suspended as a result. They are now at risk of losing their job. The Driver Safety Education and Outreach program would engage in a long-term process that works with the new driver to teach safe vehicle operation practices, and provide the driver with alternative modes of transportation to work until safe conduct is demonstrated.

Agencies Involved


Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Transportation Alternatives, Street Vendor Project, Families for Safe Streets, and others.

Automated Traffic Safety Systems

Police often work to meet traffic-related citation quotas as a mechanism of funding, and frequently use pretexts in traffic stops such as the smell of cannabis to disproportionately harm Black and brown people. Police were never supposed to control public transit safety. Their jurisdiction in this space has perpetuated systemic harms, and this harm is untenable.

Minor speeding or other traffic violations can result in dangerous police-civilian interactions. Establishing automated systems with a progressive sliding scale for citations for traffic violations in conjunction with civilian responders increases traffic safety, but only when such systems do not act as a new tax on Black, Latinx or poor communities.

Ensuring these systems do not perpetuate invidious racial bias is critical to their success. Automated systems must not be utilized where they risk such bias. Additionally, these systems must not act to expand the surveillance state or include any kind of facial recognition or other privacy-invading technologies.

Example of Use: A driver is speeding in a high-risk area. Warning signs indicate the presence of automated cameras. The system captures the driver speeding, and the driver is issued a citation. If necessary, the Outreach Team connects with the driver to develop long-term safe-driving practices.

Agencies Involved


Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Families for Safe Streets, Transportation Alternatives, and others.

Data-Driven Traffic Policy

Major metropolitan areas like New York City should rely on data-driven approaches to reduce traffic-related incidents. Rather than reactively conducting vehicle pursuits or driver stops, the city should examine patterns of incidents and address the root problems that lead to them. Implementing evidence-based, data-driven reforms across city agencies could reduce both city driver and citizen driver traffic incidents. We need a paradigm shift around the relationship between our streets, cars, cyclists and pedestrians.

The city needs to expand its bike lanes and establish safe open spaces for pedestrians. Public transportation should work with community groups to ensure best practices are followed. Accountability for conduct is critical; that response cannot be led by policing and incarceration – research shows it is counterproductive.

Example of Use: All city agencies with drivers implement Vision Zero training to reduce city-involved crashes. A city driver gets into an accident. The driver receives training and education to address any issues behind the accident. The driver has the opportunity to demonstrate safe conduct and follow an accountability plan including restorative approaches to engaging with the survivor or victim. The survivor or victim receives support and services to get through their trauma and crisis.

Example of Use: City agencies investigate a busy intersection where crashes occur. The agencies develop and implement a plan that prioritizes pedestrian and biker safety over driver convenience, involving adding bus lanes, barriered bike lanes and pedestrian guides.

Agencies Involved

Transportation Alternatives, Families for Safe Streets, and others.

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Families for Safe Streets, Transportation Alternatives, and others.

Mental Health Services and Responders

Jails and prisons should not be the largest provider of mental health treatment in our state. We need to create and scale non-police emergency healthcare responders for health-related problems. We need to establish community-based services that improve responses to individuals in mental health crises by ensuring they have access to treatment, emotional support, and expert care.

Community Mental Health Centers

In the 20th century, when the federal government reduced funding for state mental health institutes, it suggested communities would take on the task. Instead, the reality in 2020 is that people living with mental illness and the families trying to support them frequently have no place to turn. Every community could have an established Community Mental Health Center that is capable of meeting people’s needs where they are and addressing these situations before they get worse. These centers would include proactive outreach and service provision centered on long-term individualized outpatient support with crisis inpatient capacity.

Families need a place they know they can get help caring for loved ones. Community-based mental healthcare centers could ensure people do not have to travel a great distance to receive quality mental healthcare. Too often, we see tragedies despite a litany of red flags – we must invest in the kind of preventative models and long-term support systems that can avert harm. This can start with scaled-up peer-based counseling, which Los Angeles County is doing and like New York City has begun implementing.

Example of Use: A family member concerned about the mental health of a loved one in their care goes with them to their local mental health center where they receive a diagnosis and a treatment plan. The family member is given advice on how to support their loved one and contacts for follow-up care.

Example of Use: A community member who would like mental health support but has no current medical support is paired with a peer counselor who is trained to counsel outside of a crisis situation and can identify someone in crisis and direct them to more supportive care.

Agencies Involved


Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Community Counseling and Mediation, Institute for Family Health: Center for Counseling, and others.

Healthcare Responder Corps

Police are tasked with responding to situations involving people going through mental crises. About 25% of people who are living with mental illness have reported contact with police, and the result is too often deadly – half of all police killings involve a person suffering from mental illness. Tasking police with responding to mental health problems guarantees deadly outcomes. And in situations involving someone with substance use disorder, police frequently use intoxication as an excuse for use of deadly force. We need to establish an alternative – a non-police responder corps that includes de-escalation experts, gender violence experts, healthcare providers and peer support for healthcare-related situations, as community advocates and elected leaders have called for in New York and across the country.

In Oregon, the CAHOOTS model has shown responding to substance use with healthcare reduces subsequent issues and establishes treatment pathways that better facilitate long-term recovery than a police response. The CAHOOTS program successfully diverts 20% of all 911 calls and in the process saves local governments millions of dollars. Denver, Austin, Los Angeles and other cities are implementing similar models at the local level. And in New York City, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has called for a comprehensive 911 healthcare option that can address behavioral health issues with behavioral health responders, substance use issues with experts on addiction, and the multiple healthcare problems that can arise with appropriate responders including peer specialists and a direct line to non-police health experts in situations involving someone considering self-harm. This Corps would be fully staffed and equipped to handle both emergency 911 situations and daily non-emergency problems – including an alternative hotline for people in varying kinds of emotional distress who need someone to talk to.

Example of Use: A concerned family member calls 911 when a person with a history of mental illness threatens self-harm. This call is diverted to a non-police emergency responder who is an expert in de-escalating mental health crises. They work with the patient and concerned family members to develop an ongoing care plan and ensure support is put into place to prevent future crises before they happen.

Example of Use: Someone calls 911 when they witness a member of their household overdosing. An ambulance is called, and they are paired with a behavioral health responder who can determine options for immediate intervention as well as help them develop a long-term harm reduction plan.

Example of Use: A person is worried that they are experiencing problems related to mental health. The situation is not an emergency, but the person needs help. The Healthcare Responder Corps could respond, establish an initial relationship, and help the person access services they need.

Agencies Involved


Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Correct Crisis Intervention Today-NYC, VOCAL, National Alliance on Mental Illness-NYC Metro (NAMI-NYC), Community Access, and others.

Civil Life Corps

Historically, police have responded violently to situations that hold our democracy or institutions to account or demand more from our government. Our democracy is an organic, living process – responding to demonstrations or complaints about quality of life with a violent process only exacerbates the issue. Our city could expand and establish comprehensive programming that addresses the multiple and complicated needs of our civil society to ensure that every person’s rights are proactively protected and people are regularly engaging in constructive ways with a government that is supposed to work for them.

Civil Safety Corps

In the event of public demonstrations or social unrest, police are tasked with maintaining order, but the result is frequently a license for police to harm civilians. Police have even harmed de-escalation teams including city elected officials – Public Advocate Jumaane Williams was assaulted by an NYPD officer while trying to keep the peace during a demonstration in the fall of 2020. If the NYPD reaction to an elected official’s presence is aggression, it is incapable of operating within the confines of the social contract promised between a government and the people it is supposed to protect.

Instead of police responders, people demonstrating could be supported with teams of de-escalation and behavioral health experts, and a corps of responders trained in crisis management who are available to provide food, water, medical treatment, and other support for people who are demonstrating. People who are demonstrating need assurance that they will not be met with assault by NYPD officers, including police vehicles driven into crowds, tear-inducing or otherwise harmful chemical compounds, physical force including projectiles, batons or melee weapons, or any type of serious physical danger from police.

Example of Use: Building on the work of organizations who have created their own de-escalation and safety training programs for demonstrations, the city funds protest safety trainings, de-escalation training sessions and offers centralized access to volunteer de-escalation/ demonstration marshalling groups to make it easier for groups to connect to these groups and receive support for upcoming demonstrations (much like people request National Lawyers Guild observers now).

Agencies Involved

New agency

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

CCIT, and others.

Democracy Outreach and Protection Corps

New York finally has automatic voter registration, but there is much work that needs to be done to ensure every person in the city has the opportunity to voice their view on the future of the city, including non-citizens. Law enforcement should be dissociated from responding to complaints surrounding the democratic process.

We could instead establish a Democracy Outreach and Protection Corps that works before an election to identify every person in the city who can vote, and ensure they are registered and know how to vote. During elections it would receive resources to safely staff polling sites, ensure sufficiency of voting locations and poll workers, and provide transportation services to people who need help voting.

Example of Use: A local resident who has not voted in 10 years calls the Democracy Protection Corps or visits the website to learn whether they are registered to vote and where they should vote, and are given the option to request transportation to their polling site.

Example of Use: A voter feels they are being intimidated as they walk into a polling place. They report the incident to the Democracy Protection Corps who can work with poll workers to ensure that all requirements, such as party affiliates standing the mandated distance from the entrance, are observed.

Agencies Involved

Civic Engagement Commission (CEC), DemocracyNYC, New York City Campaign Finance Bureau (NYCCFB), Voter Assistance Advisory Committee

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Make the Road, VOCAL, Immigrant Defense Project, New Sanctuary Coalition, and others.

Civil Engineer Corps

Too often, complaints about inadequate housing, public property or utilities maintenance end up as a police problem. Disputes with landlords can take substantial time to resolve, and may themselves be a product of inadequate collective resources for housing support and maintenance – there may be instances where a landlord wants to fix an issue, but cannot do so without city permission. Lead pipes slated for removal may take far longer to remove than anticipated.

Our city could establish a corps of engineers and maintenance workers who are authorized and equipped to repair and maintain housing in the event of a dispute with a landlord, identify long-standing neighborhood infrastructure issues such as lead piping, renovate structures to fit modernized regulations, and ensure people experiencing mechanical problems that need fixing have a rapid response team available at all times. Where the landlord is eventually deemed responsible for the issue, the city can ensure financial resolution through expanding and collaborating with the Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) Alternative Enforcement Program.

Example of Use: When someone calls Housing and Preservation to report that the landlord has not fixed the heat and hot water for over 24 hours, the city sends a maintenance worker to fix the issue immediately. If the lack of response is a result of neglect, the landlord will be responsible for the cost of repairs.

Agencies Involved

HPD, Department of Buildings (DOB)

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

New York Junior League Community Improvement Project (NYJL-CIP), Urban Pathways, and others.

Civil Equity Research and Data Analysis Transparency Commission

Information access points to civilian-government interactions are frequently controlled and often intentionally obfuscated by police. Law enforcement oversees comprehensive, well-funded and real-time data gathering and analysis efforts, which means policymakers looking for information may have few other sources available, may receive flawed data and produce flawed policy as a result. Civilian data analysts working with neighborhood nonprofit and community-based organizations could transparently evaluate all city policies in real-time.

Existing data transparency laws should be enforced – too often, agencies ignore them. Requests for information should be granted rapidly. Communities should have control over this process, and ensure the public has access throughout.

The Civil Equity Research and Data Analysis Transparency Commission could facilitate enforcement, and gather and release as much data about policies implemented by the city as possible, including race and wealth impact analyses. It could work with city agencies and elected leaders to ensure consistent standards of data collection and transparency, and regularly release reports evaluating agency compliance and assessing short-term steps to improve compliance. The Commission will also be tasked with systematically eliminating use of tools, data and algorithms that are demonstrated to use or perpetuate racially biased or wealth-based policy outcomes.

Example of Use: A journalist needs information on information related to policy outcomes in a city agency. The Civil Equity Research and Data Analysis Transparency Commission would help them identify the data, provide it to them, and ensure follow-up questions are answered.

Example of Use: A researcher interested in evaluating best-practices in municipal government wants to assess the benefits of a specific city program. The Civil Equity Research and Data Analysis Transparency Commission would share any existing analysis and partner with the researcher to publish evidence-based findings.

Example of Use: A community organization believes that budgetary funding for a set of Assessment Algorithms would perpetuate systemic racism in an agency. The organization could file a complaint with the Civil Equity Research and Data Analysis Transparency Commission to halt the program in question and ensure it is no longer used or funded by the City.

Agencies Involved

Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA)

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Progressive Coders Network, Beta NY, Housing Data Coalition, and others.

Conservation Corps

Green spaces, open areas, public parks, flora and fauna in our city are precious resources that must be protected and nurtured. Policing parks and environmental issues does not work – it perpetuates harm, and rarely holds corporations accountable for patterns of environmental misconduct. New York already has a state-level conservation corps – our city could model and scale up a program based on civil environmental engagement programs that have worked across the country.

A Conservation Corps could promote environmental resilience throughout the city in conjunction with appropriate agencies and work in teams to help ensure our green spaces are safe, nourished and well-stewarded for future generations. Teams of corps members could be on-site at every park to help address issues and call for appropriate backup responders when emergencies arise. They could also address problems of local environmental hazards such as lead paint complaints, hazardous waste, and pollution through research, advocacy, and public education.

Example of Use: A community resident notices what could be a hazardous chemical in public. The Conservation Corps safely removes the hazard, and works to identify the actor responsible for long-term engagement and accountability so that the hazard is not reproduced.

Example of Use: A local park is trashed and vandalized. Young people engage in altercations in the area. Conservation Corps members clean the site, and engage appropriate interagency collaborations that can address the conflicts to prevent future vandalization and harm.

Agencies Involved

Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR)

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Student Conservation Association, Sunrise, and others.

Non-Citizen Safety and Outreach Corps

Police and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities work hand in hand to target and frequently terrorize immigrants across New York City. Our city must end collaboration with ICE and never allow federal officials to police immigrants. At the same time, the majority of non-English speaking New Yorkers do not receive the services agencies are mandated to provide, and receive delayed and worse care when they do get it. We need oversight hearings and enforcement plans to address these issues. Instead of policing immigration and failing to meet the needs of immigrants, we could establish a Non-Citizen Safety and Outreach Corps to engage in long-term relationship building with people who are newly arrived and long-term immigrants.

We could guarantee all residents, including immigrants, the right to vote in our elections. We must meet immigrants’ need for comprehensive legal services with guaranteed access to immigration attorneys during proceedings to avoid downstream collateral consequences.

And we have to address the root insecurities too many immigrants experience. Our elected leaders have to hold corporations accountable that steal wages or endanger workers. We can also protect immigrants by fully funding healthcare, clinics and hospitals – the primary points of care for many folks. We need language justice in our districts to ensure people can access information. We have to ensure immigrant communities receive fully funded housing and education opportunities.

The Non-Citizen Safety and Outreach Corps would work with immigrants to facilitate access to services including legal support and housing, field and respond to complaints, and ensure the various needs immigrants experience are met. The Corps would hire from and work with local immigrant communities to promote language justice and removal of access barriers, work with people to find employment opportunities, offer education, peer and legal support on the citizenship process or other issues that arise, and help people secure an attorney in the event of federal interference.

Example of Use: People newly arrived to the United States move into a neighborhood. The Non-Citizen Safety and Outreach Corps engages with them to ensure they are receiving language justice, access to housing, healthcare, job opportunities and services, as well as opportunity to vote in the next local election.

Agencies Involved

Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), new agency

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Immigrant Defense Project, Make the Road, VOCAL, New Sanctuary Coalition, and others.

Arts Corps

New York City fosters a unique and diverse array of artistic expressions that drive the culture of the world. Police respond to ad hoc art and street-level artistic expression with arrests and incarceration. Graffiti, for example, is seen as a threat, rather than an opportunity to engage someone who may be searching for ways to express themselves artistically. Graffiti should not result in arrests. If people living near it do not like it, they should not have to think about whether the person who made it will end up incarcerated – they should be able to turn to a collective of artists to collaboratively put up a new mural over the graffiti in question, or engage with the people involved to make something the community can be proud of.

Instead of policing art, our city could invest in arts programming and an Arts Corps that is tasked with beautifying every neighborhood and public space in New York City, partnering with community organizations to hire local artists to make every area beautiful, and highlighting the artistic expression of our city through media, entertainment opportunities and, as pandemic safety allows, neighborhood block parties.

Example of Use: Residents of a building complex are upset by the graffiti that covers the side of their building. Rather than waiting on a delinquent landlord to fix it, or policing the graffiti artist, they work with the NYC Arts Corps to create a facade that supports their vision for their building.

Example of Use: Residents would like to host a block party. NYC Arts Corps drops off street barriers, tables, etc., connects residents to local artists and performers and local vendors if desired. It also helps notify surrounding areas so that people are prepared for traffic and other disruptions.

Agencies Involved

Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA)

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

The Creators Collective, Thrive Collective, Free Arts NYC, and others.

Press Credentialing

The NYPD is currently tasked with determining who is and who is not a credentialed member of the press. This can have a significant impact on reporting integrity – to gain access to press corps benefits, journalists are incentivized to avoid angering the NYPD. The NYPD press gatekeeping function is inherently antidemocratic, because it allows the NYPD to prevent press it may disagree with from receiving credentials needed to cover issues of public importance – and those issues may include police-involved matters. This is a clear conflict of interest.

This past summer demonstrated the issue – the NYPD assaulted local journalists reporting on a demonstration and responded to the journalist’s complaints by saying that because the NYPD had not credentialed the journalists as press members, the complaints were invalid. The press is a fundamental part of our democracy, and a free press is prerequisite to functioning democracy. All press credentialing should be handled by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services commissioner, and include input from local community stakeholder organizations, local media outlets, representatives for new or emerging media outlets, and journalist labor unions.

Example of Use: A newly-founded publication applies for press credentials in order to cover a large protest. The requirements for receiving credentials are clear, only as restrictive as necessary and public. The publication meets all requirements and receives credentials in a timely manner.

Agencies Involved

Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS)

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, local journalists, and others.

Privacy Protection Commission

Privacy rights violations are nuanced and require individualized responses. Police responses to privacy rights violations can further violate privacy and exacerbate trauma. People who feel their privacy has been violated could have a safe space to turn to try and resolve the situation in a way that they feel in control and protected, and we have to develop proactive approaches and accountability to digital privacy protection.

A Privacy Protection Commission could work with a range of experts to address the various privacy violations, including gender violence through privacy violations, that are only becoming more problematic as our technology advances. Living in a city must not mean that our expectation of and right to privacy turn into a footnote in history.

The privacy rights enjoyed by earlier generations could exist for the Internet generations. Systems that track people based on DNA or facial recognition or other pattern identification software effectively eliminate personal privacy. Our city should defund these systems and instead fund programming that protects privacy rights and proactively envisions ways to safeguard personal privacy into the new century.

Example of Use: A person who has been filmed without their consent turns to the privacy protection commission, which provides the civil legal support necessary to help the person get their unauthorized image removed from various sites and the original footage confiscated/destroyed.

Example of Use: A person’s computer is hacked, including non-consensual removal of private photographs. The person can turn to the Privacy Protection Commission to engage in a rapid, survivor-centered investigation focused on accountability, prevention of dissemination and preventative measures. The person can also receive resources to restore their confidence in their technology such as a new computer or privacy protection training.

Agencies Involved

Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DOITT), new agency

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and others.

Civil Public Order and Property Protection Team

People often have concerns related to simple property-related issues or public disorder. Police involvement can unnecessarily lead to arrest or incarceration. The Civil Public Order and Property Protection service could include teams of people to take insurance reports and give advice on property protection measures and a robust victim's compensation fund. It would collaborate with other city service providers to develop targeted strategies to address the things that drive property crime including drug addiction and juvenile poverty.

Example of Use: A shop is vandalized in the middle of the night. The owner/manager reports the vandalism to the Commission. They are compensated for repairs and given advice on additional property protection measures they can take.

Agencies Involved

New agency

Examples of Community Organizations Doing This Work

Restorative Justice Initiative, and others.

Acknowledgements and Next Steps

Our campaign is working alongside community partners to build a coalition of candidates and elected officials to implement a new vision of public safety. At the beginning of 2022, a multi-committee initiative at the City Council, which will include community stakeholder organizations, will establish the budgetary needs for the agencies and groups that will replace the NYPD. This initiative will determine the best way to bring this plan to life.

We are committed to ongoing engagement. This is a living plan that will continue to be informed by communities and people directly impacted by systems of oppression. We will host town halls and ongoing dialogue with our neighbors and neighborhoods across the city to ensure participatory co-governance as we build and implement our new vision for public safety. We will update our plans to reflect community feedback.

The Cabán for Council Campaign would like to thank all the community organizations involved in contributing to this plan directly or by already doing the work this proposal calls for. We would like to thank Alana Sivin, Louis Cholden-Brown, Stephanie Silkowski, Kumar Rao, Paulette Soltani, Stanley Fritz, Joo-Hyun Kang, Kesi Foster, Janos Marton, Sarita Daftary, Bob Gangi, Luke Messina, Alex Liao, Katelin Penner, Aaron Narraph Fernando, Rapi Castillo, Stacy Magallon, Oren Gur, Jack Frésquez, Kate Walls, Peter Martin, Nick Smith, Veronica Aveis, Micah Herskind, Jonathan Hiles and Katherine Demby for their feedback, research and other support, Professors Anna Roberts, Steve Zeidman, Monica Bell, Leo Beletsky, James Forman and Alex Vitale for their guidance, wisdom and thoughtful insight, and Alon Gur for writing, researching, and partnering with our allies throughout the process.