SAFE task force releases violence reduction ideas

City leaders discuss the SAFE report. (March 24, 2015)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The task force formed after a sudden spike in violence in the Spring of 2014 presented its recommendations to city officials.

The Safe Alliances for Everyone (SAFE) task force formed after a sudden spike in violence in the Spring of 2014. (March 24, 2015)
(The Safe Alliances for Everyone (SAFE) task force formed after a sudden spike in violence in the Spring of 2014.)

The Safe Alliances for Everyone (SAFE) report focuses on five categories: Prevention investment, eliminating violent acts, activating economic opportunity, community engagement, education and empowerment, and effective positive change in public institutions.

“It’s an excellent piece of work,” said Mayor George Heartwell. “This is going to launch us into a new era of relations in our community to build safe alliances for everyone.”

The task force looked at everything from gang activity, to the mental health issues related to young people who witness shootings and other violent crime in the neighborhoods.

As many as 50 specific recommendations are part of the report.

>>Online: The full SAFE report (pdf)

“It will be non-traditional recommendations,” said Third Ward Commissioner Senita Lenear, who chaired the task force.

One idea involves the installation of a device called “Shot Spotter” in neighborhoods where gun violence is a problem. Shot Spotter is an electronic device that detects the sounds of gun shots and sends the information to police dispatchers.

“We are saying to people involved in violence, this is not a place to be involved in violence,” said Lenear.

Some of the recommendations can be implemented in 6 months, while others will take up to 5 years.

The city plans on hiring a coordinator to make sure the recommendations are carried out.

“We want to make sure this report doesn’t sit on the shelf and collect dust,” said Lenear.

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