MEMPHIS, Tennessee (WMC) – Making Memphis safer is the idea behind the city’s new group violence response program.
The budget that city council approved on Tuesday evening will help fund this program with $ 2 million.
The program is a partnership between the city and several different groups, all working to reduce violence by focusing on those most likely to commit it.
Delvin Lane is a former gang leader who changed his life. He graduated with a master’s degree and became a football coach at Raleigh-Egypt High School. He’s now helping others do the same as the Community Violence Response Coordinator at 901 BLOC Squad.
“The BLOCK represents ‘better life opportunities and better communities,’” Lane said. “I want these kids to understand that they don’t have to live a life of crime, to go to jail. They can be productive citizens in our community.
901 BLOC squad members like Lane not only visit crime scenes, they also mentor young people. 901 BLOC Squad is partnering with the city’s new Group Violence Intervention Program (GVIP).
The program brings together leaders from government and law enforcement, non-profit organizations and anti-violence groups.
Their aim is to interrupt, arrest those most at risk of violence, those on probation or parole, for example, and to show them and help them live a better way of life.
“I’m just trying to show them a different path than the one I took, the road I took,” Lane said.
This is work these groups have already done, but the city’s initiative is helping them coordinate and strengthen their efforts. Similar programs in other cities have reduced homicides by 35 to 60 percent, according to the National Gang Center.
Lane and city leaders are hopeful Memphis will see that kind of success, especially after a record year of homicides.
Lane says a lot can be accomplished if everyone works together.
“They say it takes the village, but it takes the right kind of village and I think if we all come together as a collective we will see our crime in our town decrease,” Lane said.
The US plan for the employment of President Biden that Congress plans to provide $ 5 billion to help fund these types of programs.
Memphis city leaders were not available to discuss the program on Wednesday, but said they plan to release more information on the program in the coming weeks.
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