The Philly TRUCE Foundation started in May 2021 with a vision to “make every community functional, meeting dysfunctional communities where they are most likely to be underserved; in their neighborhoods and schools; in their media consumption; in correctional facilities.” With these missions in mind, the organization offers three core services to Philadelphia communities: Mediation, Referral, and Street Outreach.
Right from the beginning, the foundation launched the Philly TRUCE app, which allows community members to get in touch with trained mediators through a phone app when they know about potential conflict and violence. These mediators are then able to intervene and work to stop the conflict before violence occurs. These mediators are also volunteers who live in the communities they serve. Currently, Philly TRUCE has 200 people who field help requests that come through the app.
Another part of the program is Peace Patrol. “PEACE PATROL is a group of community members who walk together along a designated route in their community – or the community of their choice,” says Mazzie Casher, the founder of Philly TRUCE. “They share information and encourage neighbors to join in the protection of their Neighborhoods.”
When Peace Patrol started in November 2021, statistics showed that there was a ⅔ reduction in homicides and shooting incidents over the 2021 Thanksgiving weekend compared to the previous year. Also, during a 100-day trial period between January 14 and April 30, 2022, there was a 26% reduction in homicides and an 11% reduction in shootings compared to the previous 90 days.
“These results were achieved with volunteers alone. With PEACE PATROL we recruited some 90-plus volunteers. Combined with our PHILLY TRUCE APP and other initiatives, PHILLY TRUCE has been able to turn some 500 Philadelphians into first-time activists through community-sourced gun violence disruption initiatives.”
Philly TRUCE hopes to expand its efforts by branching out into additional neighborhoods and districts where gun violence is prevalent. The organization is also working to expand the Peace Patrol to include people who have recently been released from prison. “No one’s return to the streets is more anticipated than a returning citizen. We propose to use that anticipation to disrupt the potential for recidivism…we propose the possibility of a court-mandated term of RPP (Restorative Peace Patrol) service for all returning citizens.”