After an early-morning shooting at a Coney Island beach party left five people injured on July 10, local cure violence groups assembled to ensure a safe environment for the neighborhood’s youth during the summer months — just as they’ve been doing for years.
Operation H.O.O.D. (short for Operation Help Our Own Develop) has provided local resources to protect and mentor young adults in the area since its founding in January 2016. The group, which works under the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island
, works to raise awareness about violence and develop social norms that reduce it.
organizes response rallies any time gun violence takes place in the neighborhood, said the group’s community coordinator, Jerry Cadet. The organization came together on Thursday, July 14 in response to the July 10 shooting on the beach
“We try to reach a resolution in basically making or at least giving an outlet for the parents and their children to feel safe moving forward,” Cadet said. “That’s why our office is such a blessing to the community, because there’s not too many parks that they can go to and actually and feel safe.”
The response garnered support from other anti-violence organizations and some representatives from the Police Service Area 1, which serves Coney Island’s 60th Precinct.
“Everyone was very receptive to the message of us needing more programs and [needing to be] more hands-on with the adults in the community to keep these kids busy and active so that they’re not just outside doing nothing and being peer pressured into doing stuff that could possibly cause their freedom or their life,” Cadet said, who added that the response rallies also serve as an open door into the organization’s new Mermaid Avenue office
, where resources are available year-round.
“Ever since then we’ve been having more people come to the office to receive services and try to provide aid and aid in anything else coming up that Operation H.O.O.D. is taking part in,” he said.
When there are no shootings to immediately respond to, the staff at Operation H.O.O.D. focuses on creating a safe space for minors that teaches them positive conflict resolution.
“The actual staff, we are violence interrupters, so there’s never an issue indoors. We do intervene with violence that we see is about to happen or that could happen and we try to intervene before it happens, but we’re a cure violence site,” said Cadet. “All we can do is respond and try to offer some time of healing for the moment.”
The group is still settling into its new facility, which opened on June 29. Their upgraded home-base features a play room with a plethora of activities, office space where youth can talk one-on-one with st