In March, 1,400 members of People Acting for Community Together (PACT) asked officials to select one of three gun-violence reduction programs. These programs — Group Violence Intervention, Cure Violence, and the Office of Neighborhood Safety — have proven effective in other cities.
The programs focus on the small number of individuals responsible for most of the violence. In Richmond, California, police identified a mere 25 people causing 70 percent of the city’s violence.
These people often escape prosecution because witnesses are too fearful to testify. If we can’t put them away, we must turn them away from violence altogether. That is exactly what these programs do. They engage with these individuals, providing an alternative to their destructive lifestyle by giving them strategies to break the cycle of violence.
It’s time to adopt a program that makes the streets of Liberty City, Overtown and Miami Gardens safe for residents threatened by the violence of a few.
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Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez recently announced that a request for proposal is being readied to select a program. The members of PACT expect Miami Gardens, Miami and Miami-Dade County to expeditiously fund the selected program. Lives depend upon it.
Eileen Higgins, Miami