Programs working to curb crime in Columbus; city dealing with record number of homicides

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 7:29 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - There has a record number of homicides in Columbus this year and an uptick in violence in recent weeks. News Leader 9 is continuing to take a look at crime prevention programs in Columbus and how they’re making an impact on the youth.

The city of Columbus hands out $750,000 in crime prevention money to qualified organizations each year. Boyz 2 Men and Overflo Barbershop and Salon are just two of the programs receiving funds.

“I’m not going to focus on the problem I’m going to focus on the solution,” said Gerald Riley.

The owners of Overflo Barbershop & Salon have been styling and cutting hair in the community for many years and they are also putting in the work to give the youth in Columbus a better future through life skills and mentoring.

“And so, we like to get them when they are young and mentor them so when they become adults, they can be a part of the solution and not the problem,” Riley said.

This year, Overflo Barbershop & Salon received $25,000 in crime prevention funds.

“We start them off as early as eight. We used to do 12 years old, but we realized at eight years old, they are really talented and they can become sweepers,” said Catosha Riley.

They also use the money to give the children life experiences such as going fishing and camping – free of charge for their families.

Boyz 2 Men uses its money to do a lot of the same things.

“Snacks food, Chromebooks. So that when they come here and they’re like, ‘Well, Ms. Shawna, we forgot our Chromebooks’ – No, we got you covered!,” Shawna Love expressed.

As a mentoring program, they will be using the money for transportation, field trips and supplies for homework and their tutoring program.

Both Overflo and Boyz 2 Men Development are using these funds to help steer kids away from crime.

Click here to learn more about Overflo Outreach. Click here to learn about Boyz 2 Men Development.

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