At a morning press conference on the ground floor of the Safety Building, Toledo Police Chief Derrick Diggs unveiled the Toledo Community Initiative to Reduce Violence(TCIRV). Officials tout the plan as a multi-agency and community collaborative effort designed to quickly and dramatically reduce gun violence and associated homicides in Toledo. Chief Diggs said the core message of this new crime prevention stratagem is to stop the violence, a message repeated by representatives of the participating agencies who spoke at the press conference. "The bottom line is, we have collected data that shows that between 1 and 1.5% of the population of Toledo is repsonsible for between 70 and 75% of the shootings," Chief Diggs said.
Chief Diggs has assigned Sgt. Anita Madison to supervise the implementaion of TCIRV. And example of how the initiative will work is a scenario where a gang member is suspected of being involved in a shooting, police will increase focus on any of his known associates whether or not he may have been involved in the shooting in question. The US Attorney's office for Northern Ohio is one of the agencies assisting in the initiative. Representing them at the press conference this morning was David Bauer. "We have partnered with the city of Toledo or other initiatives in the past and we decided to step that collaboration up after June 2011 where we saw the most violence in one month in many years in this city," Mr. Bauer said.
The intitiative is broken up into several categories.
Law enforcement team: Toledo Police Chief Derrick Diggs; Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates.
Services team: Jennifer Moses, Executive Director of the Zepf Center; Deb Ortiz-Flores, Executive Director of Lucas County Jobs and Family Services.
Community team: Rev. John C. Jones; Marriah Kornowa.
Systems team: Scott Sylak, Executive Director, Mental Health Recovery and Services Board; Ann Bowland, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
According to Chief Diggs this type of crime prevention initiative has been introduced in other US cities including Dayton and Cincinnati, and has proven to reduce homicide rates by 30-80%.