While the City Council is spending its time on issues like the five-year Strategic Framework and Participatory Budgeting, the homicide rate in Greensboro continues to soar.
The City Council spent its last work session discussing items like what the difference was between a strategic framework and a strategic plan, something City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba explained in some detail. Councilmembers also lamented the fact that too many white woman were participating in Participatory Budgeting.
What the City Council didn’t discuss was the first of seven priorities that it set back in February, that is, to make Greensboro the “Safest City.”
It’s hard to claim that Greensboro is the “Safest City” when up through Oct. 8 there were 58 homicides compared to 34 homicides during the same time period in 2022. The average number of homicides in Greensboro during that time period is 36, which means the number of homicides so far this year represents a 71 percent increase from 2022 and a 67 percent increase from the yearly average.
Considering the tremendous increase in homicides, it is going to be difficult to make the argument this year that there would have been even more homicides if not for over a million dollars the city has spent on the Cure Violence program called the Gate City Coalition and run by City Councilmember Yvonne Johnson.
The goal of the Cure Violence program is to find out about potential homicides before they happen and prevent them. In the past the argument has been made that the homicide rate would have been higher except for the work of the Gate City Coalition.
In 2020, Greensboro had 62 homicides, which was the most ever. Considering that in the first week of October in 2023 the city has already had 58 homicides, there is no way that the 2020 record won’t be broken.
The Cure Violence program was first funded by the city in 2019 and has received about $400,000 a year every year since.
A study on the program by a group from UNCG in 2021 explained the lack of results based on statistics by saying that it would take two to four years, or maybe three to five years, for the program to become effective. Cure Violence was funded in 2019 and got started in 2020.
Perhaps instead of talking about the five year strategic framework the City Council might want to consider the effectiveness of the money it is currently spending in an effort to prevent homicides.