Kalamazoo, like cities across the country, continues to experience an increase in gun violence. The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) has been actively working in partnership with the community to address this increase in gun violence through several different initiatives, including Pastors on Patrol, Group Violence Intervention, and directed patrols. Despite KDPS’ efforts, it is clear that a comprehensive, community response is warranted to change this violent trajectory.
As Mayor David Anderson has stated, “We have a gun violence crisis in Kalamazoo…and we cannot accept this in our community. Every resident has a right to expect that, no matter what neighborhood they call home, it will be a safe place for them and their families. Our response will require us all to determine how we can be a part of the solution. What affects one of us, affects all of us.”
The City Commission has indicated that addressing gun violence is a top priority and has taken previous action to allocate initial funding towards interventions and support for community members experiencing gun violence trauma. Recently, Mayor Anderson, former-Vice Mayor Patrese Griffin, former-City Commissioner Cunningham, County Board Chair Hall, County Board Vice Chair Rey, and County Commissioner Morales have come together to discuss how the City and County can collaborate to address gun violence.
The group agreed to jointly proceed to declare gun violence a public health crisis and to recommend that the City and County each commit $1 million in stimulus funds towards gun violence prevention/intervention efforts. The City of Kalamazoo made this declarationand committed the funds on September 20, 2021. The Kalamazoo County Commission did so at their regular meeting the following day.
The City and County convened a virtual community listening sessionto better understand the work already being done in our community, help identify the most critical actions we need to take now, and identify longer term solutions. Both the City and County plan for allocated funds to be deployed in partnership with the United Way of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation via the application process they have set up for the Disaster Relief and Community Urgent Relief Funds.
If you have questions, comments, or ideas about our community's joint efforts to reduce gun violence in Kalamazoo, please contact email@example.com.
City of Kalamazoo
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