Live Free OKC: Impact on Gun Homicides in Northeast OKC

by | Jul 2, 2024

Live Free OKC hosted a press conference on July 1, 2024, to give a status update on gun homicides in Northeast OKC.

Live Free OKC, founded in August of 2023, aims to dramatically reduce gun violence in impacted OKC communities through intervention and effective provision of resources.  At the press conference, the organization displayed the number of homicides in Northeast OKC since 2021, showing an overall decrease. Although gun violence, including homicides, increase during the summer months, only 3 homicides have been reported in the Northeast region so far in 2024.

Lyn Jackson, secretary of the Live Free OKC Board, emphasized the significance.

“This is because of Live Free, and it’s because of our Peacemakers, said Jackson. “They’re out there with no guns, no bullet proof vests, no weapons, no uses of force, and they’re out there bringing peace and eradicating gun violence within our communities, and that is why we are here today.”

The organization has three full-time and two part-time Peacemakers on staff. They provide several services to the community, such as mediation and mentorship for perpetrators of gun violence, and those most at risk of being involved in gun violence. They are also from the community that they serve, which is a crucial aspect of Live Free’s violence intervention model.

Since Live Free OKC’s inception, Peacemakers have served 45 clients and been involved in 121 interventions, involving 369 individuals.

According to Live Free OKC’s website, a small number of very high-risk individuals are responsible for the majority of incidents involving gun violence. In many cities, up to 70% of gun-related homicides can be attributed to a small, identifiable group of individuals. Engaging this group is a central principle to Live Free.

On the national level, firearm violence is considered a public health crisis and is the leading cause of death for children and adolescents ages 1-19 according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory report. This surpasses motor vehicle crashes, cancer, drug overdose and poisoning. Additionally, Black persons endured the highest age‑adjusted firearm homicide rates across all ages. 27.0 per 100,000 Black or African Americans as compared to 6.2 per 100,000 (all races/ ethnicities.)

“Research shows that high rates of gun violence seen today have been forged by past and present racial discrimination, including historic racial segregation, current racial segregation and disinvestment, said Jess Eddy, Live Free OKC director of operations and finance. This points to a reality I pray we all already understand. Black communities are enduring the brunt of this American public health crisis.”

Jabee Williams, who, along with Jess Eddy, co-founded Live Free OKC, tragically lost his brother to gun violence in 2001. Since then, his work to bring peace and healing to his community has earned him national recognition. Now, as executive director of Live Free OKC, his team is working to make a quantifiable impact. 

“Part of the reason why I think we’ve seen such a decline in gun violence and deaths in our community is not just because Live Free OKC started…I think that the spirit and the idea of peace is moving throughout our community.”