Onondaga County Considering “Violence Interrupter” Program, First of its Kind in Syracuse

by Conor Wight
CNY Central – Syracuse, NY
April 29, 2022

The Onondaga County legislature is continuing to debate whether or not to provide funding to OG’s Against Violence, potentially setting up the first government-funded violence interruption program in the City of Syracuse.

Founder Clifford Ryan – who, by his own count, has stopped dozens of shootings and over one hundred stabbings – said the funding would allow him to establish his volunteer organization as a non for profit, providing members with salaries and other tools to help prevent shootings in the city. Ryan has been in talks with the legislature since the fall of 2021.

… Dr. Jeffrey Butts, the director of research at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has studied violence interruption programs at the national level. He explained that it’s difficult to quantify just how effective these programs are, as violence interrupters in other cities primarily deal with trying to change the community culture through relationships to avoid violence.

“Most people, when they hear effective they assume that means violence will go down, shootings will go down, communities will be safer, and that’s tricky to measure,” Dr. Butts said, “this program will never be a substitute to policing, but if it could complement policing, it could be very valuable.”

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Clifford Ryan marches against gun violence (Photo: CNY Central)