City Implements Violence Prevention Initiative

Press Release

Des Moines, Iowa — Monday, December 6, 2021 — The Des Moines City Council tonight made a $445,000 commitment to reducing gun violence in Des Moines.

Council members unanimously approved a public health approach to preventing violent crime called Cure Violence that will be implemented in Des Moines by the community nonprofit group, Creative Visions.

"Tonight, we took a step towards a safer community, one in which fewer people and fewer families are impacted by gun violence,” Ward 3 City Councilor Josh Mandlebaum said.

Council adopted the measure which uses a data-driven model of violence interruption to target high-risk youth ages 14-25 and break the cycle of violence with proven techniques. Cure Violence is a behavioral health approach to violence prevention, rather than a law enforcement-based approach.

“Our community has been asking us to do things differently and to try something new,” City Manager Scott Sanders said. “We have to take the risk and find a unique way to address the issue of violence in Des Moines.” 

This program will be executed by Creative Visions, a local organization with a long history of community activism and mobilization.

“This is an investment for the whole city,” Creative Visions founder Ako Abdul-Samad said. “With Cure Violence, we can address gun violence and begin to address the systemic issues that lead to it.”

The program will begin in 2022 and will initially be focused in the Drake Neighborhood and the Evelyn K. Davis Park areas. Specific benchmarks have been created to measure progress by as the program is implemented.

  • Within 3 months of implementation: streaks of days without shootings or homicides
  • Within 6 months of implementation: streaks of weeks without shootings or homicides
  • Within 9 months of implementation: longer streaks without shootings or homicides
  • Within 1-year of implementation: Reduction of 30-40% compared to previous year or a substantial lower rate of increase compared to the overall rate.

Al Setka
Chief Communications Officer, City Manager’s Office
(515) 283-4057

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