CIRV Holds Open House

Organizers of a local anti-gang and violence reduction program will hold an open house Thursday so the community can become reacquainted with its street advocate team.

The Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) is holding the open house and resource fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its offices. The location is 19 W. Elder St. in Over-the-Rhine.—-

After operating for about four years, CIRV lost about half of its funding in the municipal budget approved by City Council in January. As a result, the number of street advocates who interact with at-risk youth has been sharply reduced even as the homicides in the city outpace the number at this time last year.

Established locally by City Council in 2007, CIRV is a crime-fighting strategy based on a similar plan that helped curb gang violence and shootings in Boston.

Devised by David Kennedy, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, the program involves identifying the individuals in a community who are most prone to either be a victim or perpetrator of violent crimes. The group is counseled by a team of hands-on street advocates that puts them in touch with resources and agencies that can help them, ranging from job training to substance abuse treatment.

For example, about 73 percent of Cincinnati's homicides are committed by 0.3 percent of the population, which amounts to 1,000-1,500 felons.

Groups that work with CIRV include Job Corps, Beech Acres, Center Point, Talbert House, the Urban League, Jobs Plus, Who Killed Our Kids and Cincinnati Works. Representatives from some of the organizations will be available at the open house.

What the CIRV team tries to do is help change lives,” says Reginald Brazzile, program manager.

For more information on CIRV or the open house, call (513) 721-0595 or (513) 706-1857.

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