It’s the first of its kind in the state and will serve as a data clearinghouse to help understand what works and what doesn’t to curb violence.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The recent shootings in the Columbus Short North These are examples of violent crimes that the Office of Violence Prevention is trying to solve.

It is the first of its kind in the state and will function as a clearinghouse for local and national data to help understand what works and what doesn’t work to curb violent crime.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint. This is a huge problem that everyone wants to solve,” said director Rena Shuck.

She said the office is still working to hire people, including an epidemiologist who will analyze crime data to see what’s working and what’s not in the city.

Currently, the city has 16 anti-violence programs targeted and avoiding children from crimes. How many of them work? How much more resources are needed? How much should be removed? The Office of Violence Prevention will review these issues and meet with community leaders to help better understand what specific communities need in terms of anti-violence programs.

“This is a problem of more than one department that needs to be solved. This is a community issue that needs to be addressed. This is a religious institution problem that needs to be addressed. This is a city problem that needs to be solved. This is a government issue that needs to be addressed, everyone needs to have a voice at the table,” Shaq said.

When asked whether that means more policing in neighborhoods or more cameras for criminals, she said the solutions are not that simple. She says the city needs to look at the data to see what’s working.

As for those who commit violent crimes in our city, Schack says the answer is complicated.

“I think the trauma of having a firearm in your neighborhood every day of your life certainly falls under the category of mental illness that some of these drivers may have,” she said.

The city tried to stop gun violence by passing a safe gun ordinance and holding parents accountable. It is now on hold after questions were raised about its legality.

Schack blames Ohio’s gun laws passed by the state legislature as one of the reasons for the increase in gun crimes.

“I’ve seen a huge uptick in our city because gun laws have been loosened, and cities like Columbus have to step up to clean up the mess,” she said.

Another issue related to gun violence in the city is youth crime, and some believe the courts are not doing enough to punish children who commit firearm crimes.

Schack said her office wants to bring judges’ voices to the table to see what else can be done.

“I can’t say whether judges need to be reformed, but I can say that conversations are happening and I think everyone is listening and learning,” she says.

You can read more about how other cities have established violence prevention offices here.

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