DALLAS — The Dallas City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a contract with a nationally recognized nonprofit to launch a "violence interrupters" program, according to a news release from Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.
The city's Public Safety Committee had been looking at strategies to curb violent crime in Dallas, particularly as summer approaches.
Several weeks ago, the committee heard a presentation from Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. YAP will hire and train violence interrupters to work in some of the city's underserved neighborhoods, according to the release.
”We’ll be meeting with community people. We’re going to blanket neighborhoods,” Gary Ivory of Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. told WFAA earlier this month.
Violence interrupters make it their mission to go into hot spots for crime, engage with neighbors, and connect them with resources in hopes of helping to make communities safer. Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. already has successful models in cities like Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.
”That’s what we’ve been doing is hiring people within the targeted area, who know that neighborhood, that have to have trust with the young people, trust with the family, as well that can interface with the police and law enforcement,” Ivory explained.
Back in September, the City Council budgeted $800,000 from its general fund to be allocated for a violence interrupters initiative.
“We cannot and should not rely on police alone to stop the violent crime increases in our city,” Johnson said in the release. “Violence interrupters, which were highly recommended by my Task Force on Safe Communities, will stop conflicts before they become violent and can help our people and our neighborhoods to grow and thrive."
The city's Office of Integrated Public Safety Solutions will manage the program. To learn more about YAP and its programs, click here.