COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, along with Councilmember Mitchell J. Brown and other city and community leaders, announced new and expanded programs they say will address increased violence in Columbus since the beginning of the pandemic.
“The causes of violence are many, and there is not one single solution,” said Mayor Ginther. “But we are committed to doing everything we can to end the violence, to try new community- and public-health based strategies to prevent violence and to expand programs we know are working.”
Mayor Ginther announced the following new programs:
- Growing U.P.: an initiative that provides comprehensive education, development and employment that is focused on young men from the Linden community who need stable jobs so they can raise a family and contribute to the community. The program will be managed by the New Salem Community Development Corporation and consists of recruitment of life coaching, education, soft skill development, employment and mentoring from the Men of Linden. The city anticipates reaching 30 young men through a pilot and will expand this program over the next couple of years to serve even more.
- End the Violence: Through crisis management, intervention and other activities that assist youth and young adults, Ginther says End the Violence will provide continuity and connection to supportive services, information and supplies to reduce the risk of violence, as well as the spread and exposure of COVID-19 in our opportunity neighborhoods. Approximately 80 young people will be served by this initiative, according to the city.
- Call for suburban mayors and city managers to work with county judges to find diversion programs that work for our youth.
In addition, Mayor Ginther laid out expansions to programs already in existence:
- ReRoute: micro-interventions for at-risk young people and their families with a coordinated response from Columbus Division of Police, Columbus Public Health and Recreation and Parks. This program reaches out to at-risk youth and their families to provide services to address housing and food insecurity, education issues, grief counseling and much more and has so far impacted 46 young people. Mayor Ginther is doubling the number of interventionists and social workers to work in conjunction with interventionists funded by the city at the Columbus Urban League and Community for New Direction to expand this work citywide.
- Safe Streets: bike patrol through CPD will expand to include first shift in addition to second shift, and run from spring through fall instead of just summer. The focus will be on proactive community engagement.
- Safe Neighborhoods: a collaborative effort between Public Safety and the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas that focuses on violent offenders who are on probation and at risk to re-offend, who are offered significant social services to provide an alternative plan from one of crime and violence. The program – developed by criminologist David Kennedy – will leverage the individual model into a group model and will be housed at three to-be-named churches in different neighborhoods.