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[Press] Oakland Gun Violence Prevention 2022 John Jones BOSS

This article from December 19, 2022, by Oaklandside interviews BOSS' Director of Violence Prevention and Intervention, John Jones III. Jones discusses gun violence in Oakland and how BOSS, the Department of Violence Prevention, and the community are shifting the narrative of what public safety means.


How Can Oakland Reduce Gun Violence?

Community advocate and BOSS' Director of Violence Prevention and Intervention, John Jones III, sees a path forward.

Two years ago, The Oaklandside published a deeply personal essay by John Jones III, who shared his experiences with gun violence as a young Black man growing up in East Oakland. Interwoven with local history, his story sought to help make sense of an increase in killings in Oakland and other U.S. cities at the onset of the pandemic.

I can assure you that the number of homicides would be significantly higher, by dozens, if it wasn’t for violence interrupters.

John Jones III

With homicides continuing to occur at an alarming rate, we circled back for a conversation with Jones, who currently works in East Oakland as the Director of Reentry and Violence Prevention at BOSS (Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency), one of the community-based organizations working in partnership with the city’s Department of Violence Prevention, which was established in 2017 and received a 50% boost in funding in the city’s last two-year budget that was approved in 2021. We spoke to Jones about how the department is working with community groups, what the role of traditional policing should be in reducing violence, and his takeaways from Oakland’s recent election.


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