HIGH POINT, N.C. -- The Community Housing, Neighborhood Development and Public Safety Committee has approved, for referral by city council, to allow Cure Violence Program to do an assessment of the violence in High Point.
The decision came after a lengthy presentation by James Adams, the president of the NAACP in High Point.
“These are the things that will help make a healthy and safe transition for all of us,” Adams explained to the committee.
The organization Cure Violence is based out of Chicago and is used across the globe to target those areas in the community where crime is heavy. Adams, who has spoken with representatives from Cure Violence, has asked that the City of High Point consider the group to conduct an assessment of the city.
The assessment will cost city taxpayers anywhere between $1,500 to $7,500. It will pinpoint where the problem locations are, resources that should be centered to those spots, and how the city can engage those at risk of falling toward violence. The budget to sustain the program over one year will not be decided until after an assessment is done. However, compared to similar cities, that cost could be between $200,000 and $400,000.
Look at the “cost it takes for the most simple gunshot victim” Adams explained. “It costs around a million dollars." He made the argument that adopting whatever program is set forth by the Cure Violence would trickle down to help relieve the financial strain the violence has put on the city.
During Tuesday’s meeting, he explained that there is a three-step plan that has been adapted in cities similar to High Point. They include disrupting the violence and inserting “interruptors” into those bad areas; providing a path to a better solution of life from those people caught in the violent lifestyle; and disrupting the norm of the community.
The interruptors could include ex-felons and people who have previously lived in that violent environment, but have since gotten out of it. These are “people that have the ability to walk into a room of gang members ... and they have the credibility to walk up to them ... and talk to them,” Pastor Pastor Brad Lilley explained. He is a member of High Point Peacemakers. He said these additions could help prevent the problems, as opposed to addressing the issues after a violence act has occurred.
High Point, Greensboro and Guilford County were presented with the option to go with Cure Violence last year. The City of Greensboro and Guilford County opted in for an assessment. The City of High Point declined because of the local programs that it already had in place.
Greensboro and Guilford County have already had their assessments and could decided as early as Thursday if they’re going to continue with Cure Violence’s recommendations.
High Point City Council members will hear a more in-depth presentation at their next monthly meeting.