The Steering Committee for Action on Louisville’s Agenda, or SCALA, heard from city officials on crime and violence prevention initiatives Tuesday afternoon during its first meeting open to the media.
SCALA, a private group made up of about 70 Louisville power brokers and executives, has identified crime and violence prevention as two of its key issues.
On Tuesday, Rashaad Abdur-Rahman, director of Louisville Metro’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods spoke about his work in the city. He told SCALA’s Committee on Public Safety about the Cure Violence model, an initiative designed to treat crime like an epidemic.
Abdur-Rahman said policing and enforcement are part of the plan, but they alone cannot stop violence.
“We’ve got to have policing that’s just, that’s transparent, that lifts up officer wellness,” he said. “Those things are important. But it’s got to be part of a broader strategy.”
He said Louisville is trying some similar elements of the Cure Violence initiative on a small scale; last year, Metro Council appropriated $550,000 to employ former gang members and drug dealers to do outreach in high-crime areas and to build a site for workers in the Portland neighborhood.
But Abdur-Rahman estimated it would cost about $3 million plan to roll-out the program on a city-wide scale, employing violence prevention workers to do outreach at six sites around the city.
Abdur-Rahman said this public health approach has been effective in other cities.
“We’ve walked and stood in the neighborhoods and in the areas where these models have been implemented, and we’ve been able to see the difference,” he said.
SCALA Leader David Jones Sr. praised the presentation. He said public education — another of the group’s stated priorities — is also important to addressing the city’s violent crimes.