The Washington City Paper today published a lengthy investigative piece about Peaceoholics, an anti-violence, gang-intervention group that has been funded by the Washington, D.C., government to the tune of $10 million since 2005, but with little oversight as to whether the investment has paid off.
The article, written by former Baltimore CP staff writer Jeffrey Anderson—who this week joined the staff of the Washington Times, which published his inaugural article today, about gang arrests at a D.C. public school—raises important issues relevant to similar groups in Baltimore (Operation Safe Streets), Chicago (Ceasefire), Los Angeles (No Guns, Homies Unidos), and elsewhere. The groups often receive public funds, either directly or indirectly, though they do not assist police efforts to solve crimes. They claim effectiveness due to their outsider status and ties to criminals, which ostensibly gives them street credibility that allows them to help stem violence before it happens. Before his April indictment for drug dealing and extortion, inmate Eric Brown, alleged to be the Black Guerilla Family prison-gang leader in Maryland, aspired to do similar work and won kudos from area educators.