City approves Cure Violence Global Program

City approves Cure Violence Global Program
November 04
12:09 2021

In response to the recent rise in violent crime, the City of Winston-Salem is adopting a new program called Cure Violence Global and bringing a mentorship program to recreation centers across the city. 

This year in Winston-Salem there have been 34 homicides compared to only 23 at the same point in time last year. Shootings and other violent crimes are also on the rise. According to data tracked by Princeton University’s American Violence Project, there are about 54 nonfatal shootings per-every 100,000 residents, which is higher than Charlotte (12), Raleigh (17), Durham (48), and Greensboro (35). 

While giving an update of the city’s crime prevention plan last month, Assistant City Manager Patrice Toney discussed the city’s plan to adopt Cure Violence Global, a national initiative that aims to stop the spread of violence in communities by using methods and strategies associated with public health and disease control, by detecting and interrupting conflicts, identifying and treating the highest risk individuals, and changing social norms. 

Toney said Cure Violence Global has been successful in Durham and Greensboro. Charlotte is also in the process of launching the program. “Locally, we are considering Cure Violence and we’ve earmarked $200,000. We’ll see what kind of other resources are necessary,” Toney continued. 

“It is an evidence-based model so this is why this particular program would be potentially beneficial for our community.”

To get the ball rolling on the program, city officials have organized a Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Cure Violence Task Force and a “violence community assessment” will be completed by Cure Violence Global in coming weeks. 

According to Toney, funding for the assessment will be covered by the county. 

“They (Cure Violence Global) will come in and look at our agencies, look at our crime data, where crime is occurring, our institutions, and then they will provide a recommendation and model for how we move forward,” Toney said. “Keep in mind they create the model but we would utilize local partners, local nonprofits, faith-based entities, churches, to actually implement. They will offer the layout and the training, but it will be up to the local community and nonprofits to actually implement and determine the resources that are needed.” 

The city will also spend $250,000 to enhance recreation center programming, support conflict resolution, and develop a mentoring program. Recreation and Parks will also be adding the position of youth violence prevention manager. The new position will be held by Winston-Salem native Bryce Sherman. His goal will be to make sure Recreation and Parks meets their new programming goals. Toney said young people already respond well to Sherman, who already works for the Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks. 

“He is doing an outstanding job in his current role developing their sports and athletics,” she said. “The young people respond well to him, he’s an African American male who really connects with the youth in our community.” 

Councilmember and chairman of the Public Safety Committee, James Taylor,  who is publisher of The Chronicle, said Sherman was an excellent choice for the position. 

“Selecting Mr. Sherman was an excellent idea. He is well known and respected in the community and I think he will go a long way in helping us reach our goals and objectives,” Taylor said. 

During her presentation, Toney also discussed the city’s plans to use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to double the number of participants in the SOAR program, increase spending on Pre-K and early learning initiatives, and launch a gun buyback program. She also mentioned crime prevention initiative efforts led by the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD), such as the Citizens Police Academy and the Neighborhood Watch Program. 

In total, Mayor Allen Joines and the Winston-Salem City Council unanimously approved the use of $1.35 million of ARPA funding to develop the crime prevention plan. 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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