Area leaders to roll out comprehensive plan to combat violence

Area leaders to roll out comprehensive plan to combat violence
With 21 homicides now this year, leaders agree hands-on work must begin. (Source: WALB)
With 21 homicides now this year, leaders agree hands-on work must begin. (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - More than a dozen Albany and Dougherty County leaders have spent the last several months working on a plan with one main goal, to reduce the number of black male homicides in Albany.

That plan, which was revealed Wednesday, involves four very different, but what leaders say are crucial aspects that they believe, overtime, will help eliminate the number of people killed in Albany each year.

One by one, leaders in the Albany-Dougherty County community are taking a seat at the table. Putting aside their differences and uniting in prayer. Those leaders have a common goal.

A group of city and county leaders has been working on a comprehensive plan to combat violence for the past seven months. With 21 homicides now this year, leaders agree hands-on work must begin.

Commissioner John Hayes is leading the efforts. He presented his plan to a larger group on Wednesday. It includes creating gainful employment, reducing the dropout rate, ensuring appropriate penalties for crimes and creating intervention programs.

"Across our community, we need everybody to get a hand in this, get on board," said Hayes. "The need to address this is an urgent need. We needed to do this now."

Hayes said the programs will be launched soon. One involves veterans and members of our armed forces mentoring middle school students. Another, involves pastors holding special services for the youth and inviting guest speakers there. And one of the largest programs will help create job opportunities for students at places like Proctor & Gamble.

Some people bringing new ideas to the discussion.

Hayes hopes to reach out to more groups to get the whole community involved.

The group knows changes won't happen overnight. They also hope to bring members of the youth and their parents into the conversation.

Hayes says he's also talked to Albany's mayor about her coalition joining in on the plan.

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