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Des Moines makes $445K commitment to reducing gun violence

Monday night, the Des Moines City Council voted unanimously to approve the "Cure Violence" initiative, which is a "behavioral health approach" to reducing violence.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Monday night, the Des Moines City Council unanimously voted to implement a violence prevention initiative by tapping into a well-known community nonprofit. 

The "Cure Violence" initiative will be spearheaded by Creative Visions, a Des Moines nonprofit organization with a "long history of community activism and mobilization." 

The measure uses "a data-driven model of violence interruption to target high-risk youth ages 14-25 and break the cycle of violence with proven techniques." 

Rather than a law enforcement-based approach, Cure Violence focuses on a behavioral approach to preventing violence. Creative Visions founder and statehouse Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad said the program is an "investment for the whole city." 

"With Cure Violence, we can address gun violence and begin to address the systemic issues that lead to it," Abdul-Samad said. 

So, how will the initiative work? 

A press release from the city says the program will cost $445,000 and officially begin in 2022. The program will initially focus on the Drake Neighborhood and the Evelyn K. Davis Park areas. 

Specific benchmarks have been created to measure the program's progress as it's implemented: 

  • Within 3 months of implementation: streaks of days without shootings or homicides
  • Within 6 months of implementation: streaks of weeks without shootings or homicides
  • Within 9 months of implementation: longer streaks without shootings or homicides
  • Within 1-year of implementation: Reduction of 30-40% compared to the previous year or a substantially lower rate of increase compared to the overall rate.

As of Monday, the Des Moines Police Department has investigated 12 homicides within the city for 2021. 

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