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Community advocates hit streets to try to reduce gun violence

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 9:12 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - While the number of shootings is down about 15% across Cincinnati, police say that there has been an increase in teens being shot.

On Tuesday, Cincinnati police officials announced that they are launching “targeted operations” in Avondale after the recent spike in shootings.

However, community advocates say that this is more than just a policing issue and they also plan to target neighborhoods, giving people other options than turning to violence.

On Tuesday, Cincinnati Works representatives fanned out across Reading Road.

They were armed with fliers and the message that you don’t need a gun to solve your problems.

“Every time these guys go into the community it’s a rescue mission,” said Mitch Morris with Cincinnati Works.

The volunteers with the program stop cars, knock on doors and talk to anyone who will listen.

“This illusion that these kids are chasing, like it’s slick to carry a gun and shoot and kill somebody. We have to show them something different you know by trying to offer them jobs trying to show them what’s really happening in our community,” Morris said.

He says intervention is needed to prevent other incidents like the one on Monday night, where a 16-year-old was shot outside of a store in Avondale.

Morris says they were out doing outreach work near the area shortly before the shooting. He says the increased violence shows how badly the program is needed.

To end the cycle of violence, the program helps those looking to change their lives with job training, transportation, legal services and counseling, which Morris says this is especially important.

“We had an event the other day in Millville and he said somebody was shot and killed outside of his house so at some point somebody has to touch this baby and let him know and help pull him through that trauma,” he said.

While it may not be easy reaching everyone who needs help, those with Cincinnati Works say they will continue to hit the pavement serving anyone who will listen.

“It’s going to start with all of us working together. Not all of us can do it not one team can do it. It’s going to be everybody reaching out and hopefully you will reach out before it reaches you. That’s our message. Don’t wait until it’s at your front door. Until it’s your brother until it’s your sister until it’s your cousin,” Morris said.

If you want to get involved or if you are in need of any help you can give Cincinnati Works a call at 744-WORK or visit their website at www.cincinnatiworks.org.

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