Citizens Crime Commission of New York City

A non-partisan non-profit organization working to make criminal justice
and public safety policies and practices more effective through innovation,
research, and education.


Social media is the new space of conflict, as youth involved in gun violence use it as an extension of their daily lives. Often, crew-involved youth use social media to taunt and threaten rivals, share criminal activity, freely discuss shootings and past violence, buy and sell weapons, engage in arguments, and express grief and emotional distress. Such behavior amplifies and accelerates conflicts, resulting in real-world shootings and murders.

Working with our NYC Cure Violence partners and researchers at New York University, the Crime Commission created E-Responder, a multi-tiered approach designed to prevent the escalation of violence on social media and facilitate healthy expression by building on youths' strengths and skills to promote long-term growth and development.

The Model
E-Responder was designed to reach youth in new, virtual spaces, and takes an evidence-based approach to addressing three key goals:
  • Preventing the escalation of online provocation that can lead to in-person violence
  • Building life skills in youth such as leadership, emotion regulation, empathy, perspective taking, and sociopolitical development
  • Supporting anti-violence professionals in effectively using social media to promote digital citizenship and raise awareness about social media violence
E-Responder does more than de-escalate and intervene with risky behavior; it encourages prosocial behavior by providing youth a place to explore, practice, and build important life-skills. The E-Responder intervention is delivered through an Interruption Toolkit and a Youth Leadership Program, described in detail in the E-Responder Evaluation Briefs.

Training in E-Responder is effective for any organization that works closely with young people. To inquire about E-Responder training, please email our Director of Violence Prevention, Stephanie Ueberall, at

E-Responder was piloted for six months at five anti-violence organizations across NYC. Results show that anti-violence professionals trained in E-Responder were significantly more likely to identify a risky post that could lead to violence, and were more effective in their intervention. Such effective interventions had significantly more positive outcomes for youth, such as de-escalation of the conflict or building emotional management skills.

Results from the pilot also show that youth who participated in the Youth Leadership Program were significantly more confident in their ability to use social media responsibly. Further, those who participated in the Youth Leadership Program showed increases in both empathic concern and perspective taking, two skills that have been closely linked with decreased violence in the research literature. (Sichel, C.E., Javdani, S., Ueberall, S. & Liggett, R. (in press). Leveraging Youth's Digital Literacies: The E-Responder Social Media Violence Interruption Model and Pilot Evaluation. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community.)

New Directions
The success of E-Responder illuminates a larger need to bridge technology and crime prevention. The Crime Commission seeks to enhance E-Responder with a new application, called F.A.S.T.™, which will analyze Facebook posts in real-time and immediately send an alert to a trained anti-violence professional when posts contain language shown to have a high risk for potential violence.

Media & Resources


E-Responder Evaluation: Cultivating Resilience and Sociopolitical Empowerment (2017):
» download the report

When Your Best Friend is Murdered: Experiences of Grief and Trauma with Crew-Involved Youth (2017)
» download the report

E-Responder Evaluation: Youth Leadership Program Results (2017)
» download the report

Social Media as an Opportunity for Service (2017)
» download the report

E-Responder Evaluation: Interruption Toolkit Results (2017)
» download the report

Social Media Impacts Behavior & Norms (2016)
» download the report

Social Media & Real-World Consequences (2015)

Volume 1:
From Virtual to Violent
» download the report

Social Media & Real-World Consequences (2015)

Volume 2:
Responding to Social Media Norms
» download the report

212-608-4700  · ©2023 Citizens Crime Commission of New York City