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Grand Rapids Urban League details "Cure Violence" program, a solution to city's rising crime rate

Last year was the deadliest in Grand Rapids with the most homicides on recorded.

The city is taking a new approach to crime designating the Grand Rapids Urban League as administrator of the "Cure Violence" program.

The Grand Rapids Cure Violence program will use a public health model addressing crime. instead of the traditional criminal justice model.

Greggory Hampshire is the Urban League’s Director of the Center for Health, Wellness, & Youth. He explains the cure is seeking out people at greatest risk of contagion and interrupting the transmission.

“It treats violence as an infection in our community," Hampshire said. "We do this through having violence interrupters on the streets that will come from the communities that we’re working in. We’ll build rapport with their neighbors and help be a barometer for the potential of violence breaking out in the community. And helping problem solve with individuals who may have been taught that violence is a viable problem-solving method.”

Hampshire points to Cure Violence introduction successes in Yonkers, New York, where over a 28-month period, it went without shootings and homicides. In Baltimore, Maryland’s East Corridor, 23-months without a homicide, and Philadelphia’s 39th Ward went 16-months without a homicide.

The three-year program will receive $75,000 annually from the city with nonprofits making additional financial contributions.