Portsmouth, Virginia (Wavy) – While the streets of Portsmouth were met with shootings last week, local leaders met to make changes.
“The FBI, the prosecutor’s office, came out and they said we wanted to help Portsmouth. One of the things they wanted to do was get some stakeholders involved, ”said Pastor Kelvin Turner of Zion Baptist Church in Portsmouth.
He quickly became one of those stakeholders who joined the group of several other professionals working in social services, law enforcement, schools and the prosecutor’s office. Together they make up what will be Portsmouth’s version Safe Neighborhood Project (PSN).
“The Safe Neighborhood Project is a project that began about 20 years ago and is spreading across the country,” Turner said. “It’s in all 50 states, but it’s to help neighborhoods fight security and violence in their communities.”
The Safe Neighborhoods project is located in cities like Detroit. Now it also starts in Portsmouth.
US Department of Justice Program describes himself as “a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials, prosecutors, community leaders and other stakeholders to identify the most pressing problems of violent crime in society and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.”
“It’s a tough time for the city of Portsmouth,” Turner said. “It’s our way of saying we’re tired of stupidity, we’re tired of violence, we’re tired of shooting, but we can’t look at someone else to solve it. We have to be part of the solution. “
As part of this decision, PSN identifies past criminals outside the prison and sits down to find out where they need help.
“Many of them find themselves in a situation where they don’t feel they don’t have a support system,” Turner said. The Safe Neighborhoods project lets them know, “Hey, we’re in this together.” Part of being this time means we need to make sure our communities are safe. ”
The main goal of the initiative is to incorporate research and analysis of data, as well as lessons learned from other violent crime reduction initiatives, to decide on the most effective violence reduction strategies.
Pastor Turner hopes that the impact of resources will begin to hold offenders accountable for change not only for themselves but also for the children who watch over them.
“It’s not just to make it great today, but to make it great for tomorrow,” Turner said.
The group has already met twice and plans to meet again soon to begin the project. They will receive funding in the first year and practical assistance in developing the program in its early stages.