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DES MOINES, IOWA — The Des Moines City Council committed $445,000 to help reduce gun violence in the city. The vote was to use a program called Cure Violence, it will be run by the local Creative Visions group.

“Tonight, we took a step towards a safer community, one in which fewer people and fewer families are impacted by gun violence,” Ward 3 City Councilor Josh Mandlebaum said in a news release.

The plan has met success in other cities using metrics data to approach violence through a model which can target high-risk youth.

“Our community has been asking us to do things differently and to try something new,” City Manager Scott Sanders said. “We have to take the risk and find a unique way to address the issue of violence in Des Moines.” 

“It says that the city is investing in a problem that has put residents in Des Moines in a fearful position is saying that we want to make sure that our citizens can live without fear,” said Ako Abdul-Samad, founder of Creative Visions in Des Moines. “We need to take some steps to start getting systemic change instead of cosmetic, that makes a difference because it saying that our seniors  should be able to walk out the door without hearing gun shots.”

The program will be administered by Ivette Muhammed, who will serve as the Cure Violence Site Coordinator.

“So we’re able to take the model that they developed identifying gun violence as a public health issue, and incorporate that into our programming,” said Muhammed. We will identify areas where violence is prone to occur and hopefully reduce and prevent that from happening.”

Cure VIolence will use 5 staff people to interact directly with those at risk 14-25 years of age.

“Do an intake with our participants and determine what their needs are, so there may be mental health concerns, that will have to addressed, there may be a job opportunity, and I’m filling out resumes and getting them employment training, it could be financial assistance due to you know if they were involved in as victim  of a crime, and they need those resources.”