VINELAND — Cumberland County officials are asking for the community’s input on a plan to use more than $500,000 in federal funds to combat gun and gang violence in the county.
After several meetings with the community in June, members of law enforcement, education, protective services, human and social services, public health, juvenile justice and faith-based organizations have developed a violence-reduction plan, according to a news release from the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office.
It’s part of the Cumberland Collective to Help Reverse Inequality and Violence Everywhere, or CC THRIVE, an initiative “to prevent and reduce gangs, guns and youth violence, as well as the impact of this violence on youth and young adults ages 10 to 25” in the county, according to the release.
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An event to be held 6 p.m. Nov. 13 at Cumberland County College’s Luciano Center is being billed as a community conversation in which the public can weigh in on the proposed plan, according to the release.
Several people in the county have been killed by gun violence so far this year, including 9-year-old Jennifer Trejo and youth football coach Joseph “JoJo” Jones.
Violent crime in the county from January to September is down from 602 to 447 reported incidents from the same period last year, a difference of 25.7 percent, according to the State Police Uniform Crime Report, which tracks crime data submitted by police departments throughout New Jersey.
Before the plan is submitted to the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention on Dec. 1 for review, officials are asking for the public’s input.
“Before we submit the plan, we want to get additional community feedback on the strategies and programs that we believe will make Cumberland County safer,” county Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said. “We need to hear your voice because we know that we will need your support if these programs are to be successful.”
In an interview with The Press of Atlantic City in July, Webb-McRae said the first year of the grant is for planning, with the next two years slated for implementing changes in policy or adding special programs to combat violence.