Minneapolis, MN

With No Badges and No Guns, This Church Group is Stopping Violence

Good News Daily

These "violence interrupters" are changing the ways that we look at communities and policing

Martin Kuz

Before the brutal murder of George Floyd, Minneapolis Minnesota had a violence problem, however, since police shot and killed George Floyd, Minneapolis has seen a spike in homicides, shootings, and other violent crimes since police killed George Floyd last May.

However, certain community members and church groups have taken it upon themselves to prevent violence in their neighborhoods, and to their surprise, police statistics are showing that community intervention and preservation can actually work.

According to CS Monitor:

"The Office of Violence Prevention established the interrupters program under the Minneapolis banner last fall as part of the city’s evolving efforts to reimagine public safety and reduce dependency on traditional policing.

Four teams of 20 to 30 members, whose ranks include former felons and gang members, walk the streets in high-crime zones. Unarmed and lacking arrest authority, they stay alert for disputes between residents – young men in particular – and attempt to intervene before verbal taunts give way to fists or firearms."

Some church groups, currently participating in their program, "21 Days of Peace," set up lawn chairs in high-crime areas to prevent violence. Where many won't even drive, these Godly community members set up their seats and simply hang out on street corners and other high-crime areas.

“Their job is not to punish people,” says Sasha Cotton, the office’s director since its inception in 2019. “It’s about saving them.”

According to police crime statistics, since the "violence interrupters" have begun their program, crime rates have fallen, which shows that a drastic change in policing is necessary. It's not about coming once there is a crime, it's about stopping it before it happens.

These community members, many of who work day jobs, go out of their way to change the way that their city deals with crime. These community members are heroes.

“It’s important for people just to see us, to know we’re out here,” she says. “Especially right now, when everybody’s on edge. We want them to know their community cares about them.”

We're so thankful for you, violence interrupters. We're ready to see positive change!

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