COLUMBUS (WCMH) — During a news conference Thursday, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, along with other city leaders announced hundreds of thousands of dollars in initiatives to reduce violent crime.  

Ginther announced that $400,000 would be funding two crime reduction programs led Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Jessica D’Varga and Franklin County Prosecutor G. Gary Tyack. 

According to Ginther, the programs will ensure public safety, and provide resources and support for mostly non-violent offenders navigate back to public life. 

“We cannot and will not accept rising crime rates as our new normal,” said Ginther. “We must continue to address this issue from every angle, which includes working to educate and reform our neighbors who engaged in criminal behavior. This is a community-wide effort, and the partnerships we are supporting represent the kind of innovate and thoughtful actions that are needed to build a safer, more resilient Columbus.” 

D’Varga’s Unleashing Potential (UP) program, which helps young offenders find guidance on ceasing criminal activities, will receive $200,000. 

“This program will provide support and stability to our justice-involved 18-25 year olds, setting them up for success through individualized case management plans that will greatly reduce the chance that they will come back into our court system and eliminating barriers to their achievement. Investing in our youth is an investment in this community that I believe will make a meaningful and long-term impact for our city,” said Judge D’Varga. 

The city’s Gun Violence Reduction Initiative in the County Prosecutor’s Office will receive the other $200,000.