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Community Groups Launching Long-Term Effort To Combat Crime

Tana Weingartner

A recent uptick in violence has Cincinnati leaders scrambling for short-term solutions. Now, community leaders across the city are coming forward with a long term-plan targeting crime at its roots.Faith and community leaders say their comprehensive plan focuses on supporting businesses, creating jobs, providing job readiness services, and redeveloping neighborhoods. They estimate it will take $50 million to fully implement.

The Rev. Damon Lynch III says the plan doesn't seek to replace or subvert other efforts by the city, the police department, or any other groups, to stem crime.

The multi-point plan includes:

Create an organization similar to 3CDC to focus on the sections of the Black Community adversely affected by crime. Utilize strategies of Community Economic Development (CED) to create vibrant, resilient and sustainable local economies in these deteriorated and deteriorating communities Create and support business within the targeted community. These businesses would provide employment opportunities for those seeking to turn away from a life of crime. Develop efforts to restore blighted buildings in the community. This would grow businesses and the economy as well as provide employment and training opportunities Provide job training and readiness services to assist those seeking to change their life Create a safe haven located in the center city where support for those who seek to change their life style Create a grass roots community assistance initiative where by people from the community would be employed to serve as ambassador in the community Create a HELP line that is a dedicated phone number that people could call for assistance

The group says it intends to seek funding from local, state and federal governments. It also intends to seek financial help from the corporate community.

Cincinnati council member Wendell Young says he and council member Yvette Simpson will ask Mayor John Cranley and City Council to allocate to the project "a significant portion" of the city's expected surplus of $10 to $17 million.

State Representative Alicia Reece is also requesting state funds be included in the governor's proposed budget to pay for a re-entry center for people coming out of incarceration.

Some of the people behind this initiative include: State Representative Alicia Reece, Pastor Damon Lynch, Cincinnati Councilman Wendell Young, President / CEO of Community Action Agency Gwen Robinson-Benning, Community Activist Iris Roley, Pastor Eugene Ellington, and Bishop Bobby Hilton, President of Greater Cincinnati Chapter of National Action Network.