COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The city of Columbus wants to heal the crime epidemic plaguing the Chattahoochee Valley, and is willing to pay top dollar to do it.
Tuesday at city council, the issue of crime was brought to the table and what Columbus plans to do about it.
One possible answer is Cure Violence Columbus, a crime prevention initiative that treats crime like a health epidemic. Cure Violence Global is the crime prevention program that’s been found to be successful in reducing crime rates from anywhere to 30 to 60 percent in cities like New York, Baltimore, and even Chicago. It addresses crime like it’s a sickness and takes a community approach to a community problem.
Columbus City Council awarded the Cure Violence Columbus team $25,000 to pay for the cost of a two to three month assessment to come up with a remedy specific to the city. Mayor Skip Henderson wants the citizens and Cure Violence Global to know that the City of Columbus is serious about treating the crime epidemic.
“I think the thing that gives me confidence is the fact that they’re in 10 countries, over 100 cities, and they’ve been successful everywhere they’ve been,” said Henderson. The system works. We just need to make sure we follow the system and get the right people involved in working it. We also set aside, just to make the statement to our community and also to the assessment team by earmarking up to $500,000. In the event that the assessment comes back favorable and in the event that council feels comfortable, they’ll vote to spend that money.”
Cedric Hill, one of the team members of the Cure Violence Columbus initiative, hopes the city’s contribution will encourage other partnerships to help fund the community-based crime prevention initiative.
“We feel mostly that the equity that’s necessary is going to be all partners from the community, all sides, and of course the city wanted to be a lead in that. And we’re really appreciative of that. With that equity, what we’re able to do is go back to some of our other partners and to the community as well and say, the city is willing to step up, and then kind of sort of make the request to those partners as well,” Hill explained.
The assessment for Columbus is expected to take place in May and could take two to three months. Once it’s completed, city council will review the results and determine whether or not the city wants to spend the $500,000 dollars set aside for the crime prevention program. Cure Violence Columbus will continue to seek public and private partnerships. For more information on the Cure Violence Columbus initiative click here or visit the global website here.