Cure Violence Columbus information session held to address concerns of implementing the program

Updated: Mar. 15, 2021 at 10:09 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The City of Columbus and Cure Violence Columbus held an information session Monday to share how the crime prevention initiative effort is going and to address public concerns.

Columbus had a record number of murders in 2020, and with a pace to meet or beat that number this year, there’s no doubt there’s a strong focus on lowering violent crime rates.

The city of Columbus is already committed to spending $25,000 for an assessment and setting aside another half million to put the program into action. Cure Violence Columbus, a the crime prevention initiative that has proven success in over 100 U.S. cities, including Baltimore, New York and Chicago, is now headed to the Fountain City. According to Cedric Hill Jr., one of the members of Cure Violence Columbus, the initiative is a community effort and will take the entire city to get on board to make the program successful.

“This is a collaborative effort,” said Hill. “It involves the city government, it involves the public health department, it involves local organizations that are working on the ground right now to improve these communities that we’re targeting. So, it has to be open communication because it’s not just one organization, it’s not just one group of people working at this thing. Everybody’s coming together to make this thing happen. This isn’t us doing a thing. This is the entire community coming together to make this thing happen.”

The funding will help pay those most impactful to the program and out on the streets. According to Reggie Lewis, half a million dollars may seem like a lot of money to try to put an end to crime, but when you consider the alternative, it’s only a drop in the bucket.

“You’ve got to think about the police being on scene. You’ve got to think about the incarceration and housing of the suspect. That’s a cost.”, said Lewis. “You’ve got to talk about the hospital and ER cost. You have to talk about the doctor and ongoing cost. Rehab. If they’re paralyzed, the cost of equipment and things like that for the family,” explained Lewis.

According to Lewis, in most cases the city is footing those bills when a violent act occurs and it impacts more than just those involved.

The next steps are data collection and analysis for the city, and bringing more people to the table to help with the effort. A two-month assessment of the city of Columbus’ violence is set to take place in May. For more information on the Cure Violence Columbus initiative click here.

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