Can program help 'Cure Violence' in Cleveland?

Can program help 'Cure Violence' in Cleveland?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Councilman Zack Reed says Glenville is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Cleveland.

"The Glenville neighborhood as it relates to the violence in the city has been hit way too hard," he said.

Which is one of the reasons why he and Councilman Jeff Johnson took anti-violence experts to the streets.

They're part of Cure Violence, an international group that trains and employs every-day citizens to prevent shootings and other crimes in their neighborhoods. They call them "Violence Interrupters." They work with key people in dangerous neighborhoods to settle things peacefully. The program is in place in more than 50 sites. Leaders say there's potential for Cleveland.

"The program that we run, the model that we work with is really hiring people from the community that have the credibility and respect and relationships that they're able to go in and mediate conflicts and provide services and so, Cleveland looks great," said Lori Toscano, director of U.S. programs for Cure Violence.

There's no guarantee that the program will work, but city leaders are open to any ideas that will help curb the violence in Cleveland.

"When you look at cities like Baltimore and certain neighborhoods, they've seen dramatic reductions. Look at cities like New York City, where they've gone an entire year without homicide, without one shooting. If it can work in cities that are much larger than the city of Cleveland, in a city of 400,000 people, it can work here in the City of Cleveland," said Councilman Reed.

The price tag is steep -- between $75.000 to $100,000 to start and if approved, could be in place by late summer or early fall.

Based out of Chicago, Cure Violence uses a public health issue model, to train and employ folks in 50 sites across the world. Twenty are in the U.S.

Leaders will be here all week, meeting with community officials and leaders, while touring some of Cleveland's roughest neighborhoods. Wednesday, they'll meet with peacemakers at East Tech High school.

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