82ºF

Cure Violence workers hit Jacksonville streets for first time

Staff recruited to new program learning to engage community

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A major milestone Tuesday afternoon in Jacksonville’s Cure Violence program: Workers are hitting the streets to learn how to engage with at-risk communities to stop violence.

Many of the workers are ex-offenders who have been recruited to help the city deal with issues of crime and violence.

The program is set to formally debut on Saturday.

The staff are headed into the community one day after three shootings were reported, including two in Northwest Jacksonville within minutes of each other, although the shootings are not believed to be related.

READ: Cure Violence assessment for Jacksonville

Residents said they're frustrated with the violence.

"I think something can be done but I just don’t know what it is.  Go back to church," said Carolyn Haynes, who lives near one of Monday night's shootings.

The anti-group MAD DADS said they support the Cure Violence program, but they believe these peacemakers will run into multiple hurdles trying to get residents to trust them. That includes the "no snitch" culture, where residents don't want to give police information about crimes for fear of retaliation.

Then there's another issue.

"Some of these men and young women that’s doing some of these crimes are actually the breadwinners of the household," coordinator A.J. Jordan said. "So, you're also taking away their meal ticket, more or less -- their income. Some of the things they ask MAD DADS, if we turn him or her in, 'Who’s going to take care of us?'"


About the Author: