We Need A Community-driven Approach to Reduce Gun Violence

 We Need A Community-driven Approach to Reduce Gun Violence

This is an editorial by Cincinnati council person Greg Landsman.

Safety is a basic, fundamental right and no one should be denied a life free from fear and violence. With shootings and homicides on the rise in Cincinnati, thousands of children and families are being denied this basic right, and we need to act comprehensively.

I went to Grant Park the day after one of the deadliest weekends in city history. I’ve gone back several times, and have spent the past few weeks pushing for a comprehensive plan.

There are too many guns on the street, which increases the chances of disputes that end in gun violence. What’s more, the lack of jobs and activity in certain pockets of the city have created an urgent and deeply complex problem that we must solve together. The plan must be built on the Collaborative Agreement, supported by the Manager’s Advisory Group (or MAG), and deeply rooted in community-police problem-solving. It should include at least these five elements:

  • Focus on guns and violent offenders. Shift police resources to “hot spots,” and pursue multiple approaches to getting guns and violent offenders off the streets. Police working with community partners and parents on these efforts produce the best results. 
  •  Add litter sweeps and anti-blight efforts. Working with Public Services and Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, among others, to do ongoing litter sweeps in these areas will help too, as with targeted anti-blight investments. This is part of taking back these areas for children and families.
  • Go in with jobs too, and supports. I fought for the biggest increase in youth jobs ever, and now we must connect these jobs to young people. We need to do pop-up job fairs in these areas with all of our partners such as CincinnatiWorks, Community Action Agency, and the Urban League. 
  •  Bring in programming and get people out again. We should pull our partners together to offer programming in these areas to get people back out. Part of the issue is that we don’t have as many people out right now because of the pandemic, but ongoing programming could help us change that.
  •  Measure progress and alter the response. We have to adopt a set of performance measures and allow our Office of Performance and Data Analytics to help us update our response based on what is working and what’s not. This will help us get the results we need, and ensure dollars spent are not being wasted.

We need this comprehensive, community-driven plan to address the urgent issue of gun violence, and the kind of leadership that can get it done. Please encourage other leaders at City Hall to pursue this approach, and join this collective effort to keep everyone in our city safe.

Read the original opinion piece in cincinnati.com

Jim Prues