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These San Bernardino organizations will help the city curb violence

San Bernardino County Sun - 12/5/2018

Dec. 04--Three local service groups have been pegged to assist San Bernardino with reducing violence.

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, city leaders are expected to approve agreements with Victory Outreach of San Bernardino, Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy and Clay Counseling Foundation as part of the city's Violence Intervention Program, an initiative used in Stockton, Oakland and other cities with high crime rates.

According to a staff report prepared for Wednesday's City Council meeting, Victory Outreach and Young Visionaries will help reduce group-related violence through a range of ongoing proactive community engagement peacemaking efforts. Representatives will build relationships with those at the highest risk of involvement in violence; reduce tensions and conflicts that could escalate to violence or retaliation; develop and carry out community engagement plans and strategies; and plan and implement one-on-one and group-based meetings with clients.

Both groups already have a presence in the city, the staff report says.

Clay Counseling, meanwhile, will handle between 45 and 60 individuals at risk of becoming violent; assist with conflict resolution, relocation and cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling; and develop regular mutual-support meetings.

The agreements will cost the city $600,000 over 18 months, with $500,000 covered by a two-year state grant.

Led by the Inland Congregations United for Change, or ICUC, local community groups started pushing for the Ceasefire initiative in 2015.

Since San Bernardino city leaders approved the crime intervention program last year, a manager has been hired and law enforcement officials have met weekly to discuss all violent incidents.

Contracting with Victory Outreach, Young Visionaries and Clay Counseling, city staffers say, is the next step in the program's implementation, and is expected to disrupt the cycle of violence and respond to trauma through a coordinated community-based violence reduction strategy.

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The Violence Intervention Program endeavors to reduce the five-year average of homicides and non-fatal shootings in the city by 10 percent. Officials also hope to reduce victimization and recidivism for program participants by 20 percent.

"This program, when done correctly, has proven time and time again to effectively reduce (shooting and homicide) numbers," police Chief Jarrod Burguan said last year. "However, it does not solve necessarily underlying problems, and it does not replace traditional policing. ... We're never going to stop doing traditional policing."

The City Council meets at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, at the Council Chambers, 201 N. E St. in San Bernardino.


(c)2018 the San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, Calif.)

Visit the San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, Calif.) at www.sbsun.com

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