A team with the group Cure Violence is in town, assessing how to treat crime in Jacksonville like a health crisis.
The city is paying the Chicago-based organization $7,500 for its assessment.
The first stop on Cure Violence’s three-day assessment of Jacksonville was City Hall, where the team met with Sheriff Mike Williams, Mayor Lenny Curry and State Attorney Melissa Nelson.
On Tuesday afternoon, the organization hosted a meeting at Kids Hope Alliance for State Attorney’s Office Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee members, Safety and Crime Reduction Task Force members, community partners, business leaders and community activists.
Cure Violence training specialist Marcus McAllister said meetings alone aren’t the answer, but they help get the ball rolling.
“The meetings itself are not going to stop the violence. We’re having meetings to be able to assess and execute and actually implement this model here,” said McAllister.
McAllister said he spent 10 years behind bars.
Now, he works for the Chicago-based organization, which approaches violence like treating a disease.
People from the Jacksonville community would be trained to respond to hospitals when violence happens to try to prevent retaliation.
Cure Violence also creates a program to identify people at high risk for violence and give them positive alternatives instead.
“The work would be done in Jacksonville, by Jacksonville residents, by Jacksonville people. It’s not like we’re picking up Chicago and putting us here,” said McAllister.
Over the weekend, there were seven shootings in Jacksonville 48 hours.
Action News Jax asked Curry what problems he hopes Cure Violence can solve that local solutions are not fixing.
“That they disrupt the next violent act. And that is their core mission. So, they treat it, again, like a disease. And a disease spreads,” said Curry.
Cure Violence is holding two meetings for the public this week:
One is on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Legends Center Auditorium at 5130 Soutel Drive, Jacksonville, FL. 32208.
The other is on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Mary Singleton Center at 150 E. First St., Jacksonville, FL. 32206.
After the organization leaves Jacksonville at the end of the week, it will send the city a final report in about a month.
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