GREENSBORO, N.C.(WGHP) — When there’s an uptick in violence in the Triad, people tend to turn to the police and the city, asking them to step in and make it stop.  

The City of Greensboro, in partnership with the police, is working to empower the community to prevent the violence from ever happening.   

Ahead of students getting out of school for summer break next week and on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, the city launched an initiative called peace on purpose.  

A kickoff event was held at Barber Park.  

Peace on Purpose is all about intention, and organizers offered a pledge for people to sign. 

“This pledge is an opportunity for people to say they are going to stand against violence in our community no matter where the violence takes place,” said Latisha McNeil, division manager of the Office of Community Safety.  

It pledges accountability, and intervention when needed to prevent violence before it starts.  

“For too long, law enforcement has had to stand in the gap of a lot of societal issues by themselves,” McNeil said.  

Peace on Purpose isn’t just a mantra. Groups gathered at the park with resources to prevent violence like art exercises, fitness groups, educational opportunities, after-school care and more.   

“The crime rate, gang affiliations and things of that nature, being able to bring those kids in and give them resources, give them activities to be a part of, meet new friends,” said Nyla Allen, program coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club in High Point.  

Places like the Boys and Girls Club provide mentorship and youth development, which is critical to preventing crime.  

“That’s part of our mission: for them to become the best citizens that they can be,” Allen said.

The event also highlighted community groups and law enforcement officials who provide mental health resources. 

“A lot of times when people are in mental health crisis, people can present in a way that can be scary,” said Tommy Perkins, a police officer in Greensboro who works in the behavioral response team.  

“If you bring in law enforcement from a different angle of thinking, and you bring in clinicians, we can approach it from a different angle and get them the help they really need,” Perkins said.


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Stopping crime before it starts by addressing the root cause can help lessen the load for the already strained Greensboro Police Department.  

“We have mental health issues in our community. We have substance abuse issues in the community … historically, the only response has been a police response, and now we have a different response and different partners,” Chief of Police John Thompson said.  

To learn more about the community safety office, click here.