The Ohio City of Columbus Police Department has identified 17 active street gangs and groups, comprising approximately of 480 group members, which represents only .05 percent of the Columbus population, but known to have been involved in at least 36 percent of the homicide committed in the city.
“These are perpetrators, victims, or both. Another 10 percent of homicide were suspected to involve these groups’ members. That means that at most .05percent of this population is connected to at least 36 percent of the recent homicide,” said Assistant Polce Chief LaShanna Potts while providing a status update on safety initiatives.
“We know that these individuals are operating in a very small number. Group violence intervention has repeatedly shown that cities can reduce violence when community members and law enforcement join together to directly engage with active violent street groups and clearly communicate three things: a credible community message against violence, a credible law enforcement message about the consequences for the violence and a credible and genuine offer to help for those who want to take it.”
Also in his update, Mayor Andrew J. Ginther said a total of 103 young people are benefiting from different programs on safety initiatives.
“Since the program began in August, we have already connected with 75 young men to make them aware about the tools and resources like employment, training, and life skills management. Dozens are registering and enrolling to participate and through mentors and champions they are learning to tap into all the potentials.’
“In March of this year, we launched the VOICE program that stands for Violence Outreach, Intervention, and Community Engagement, in partnership with Columbus Public Health, Recreation Park and Ohio Health Grant Hospitals.”
He said that “VOCE is a hospital-based violence intervention program that recognizes the complex nature of violence and victimization which works with gunshot wounds, stabbing and assault victims between the ages of 18 and 40.”
“The goals of the program are to build strong relationships with individuals at the risk of violence using the power of relationships for change to connect individuals with needed support and social services. Today it has enrolled 28 clients who are all actively pursuing life plan goals.”
On the relationship between the city and state government in curbing crime, Mayor Ginther said, “we are going to keep working with the Governor of Ohio State. Not just on issues of police reforms but violence reduction and intervention.”
“We get conversations on everything from training and body-worn cameras to additional resources for youth programming and neighborhood safety efforts. The governor and I have talked on the variety of ways we are going to continue to work together and potentially leverage on resources that have been granted recently through the recovery plan.”