GREENSBORO, N.C. — City Council approved $500,000 Tuesday to help reduce violence in certain parts of Greensboro. The money will fund the program called "Cure Violence" that treats violent crime like a health issue.
Ingram Bell will be a part of the 6 person team. For her, curbing gun violence is personal. "I am involved because in 2011 I was actually shot in my head so I'm not a victim I'm a survivor," she said. She's also lost family members, most recently her cousin Furmann Bailey who was shot and killed at a Greensboro gas station five months ago. "He didn't get to live his life out," Bell said.
The Cure Violence program approaches violence like a health problem and even uses tactics that health experts use to find causes of diseases to stop their spread. "Sometimes we just see violence is something happening, but there's reasons behind it," Councilmember Sharon Hightower said.
The program will be implemented in two areas of East Greensboro for one year that are part of her district: Smith Homes and parts of Martin Luther King Junior Drive where gun violence is prevalent.
"We have been struggling for years in those areas neglected if you will sometimes overlooked," Councilmember Hightower said. Cure violence gets into neighborhoods with this approach: find and interrupt conflict, find and treat the highest-risk people, and change social norms. Team members will be people from the community.
"It's hard to have conversations with community members if you're not from the community because they don't trust outsiders," Bell said. The half a million dollars, under the direction of the nonprofit One Step Further, Inc. will be used to pay for salaries, training, and rent for the home where the program will be based.
"I really firmly believe in this program, " said Councilmember Hightower. "I think that while it’s not going to be the whole solution, it’s a start it’s a beginning."
In the more than 20 cities where Cure Violence exists, there's been an overall reduction in violence.
The plan is to get the program up and running around the 1st of the new year.
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