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Green Bay unveils new plan to reduce violent crime, improve safety

Posted at 5:40 PM, Jun 05, 2024

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Green Bay has introduced new plans and a new office aimed at improving safety across the city.

  • Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich unveiled the Community Safety Plan.
  • The plan aims to reduce violent crime in Green Bay.
  • Primary objectives: gun violence reduction, community violence intervention, and sustaining the Office of Violence Prevention's efforts.

Green Bay is taking significant strides to ensure the safety and well-being of its neighborhoods. On Wednesday, Mayor Eric Genrich unveiled an innovative Community Safety Plan aimed at reducing violent crime.
At Seymour Park, Mayor Genrich, along with key figures from the city's safety initiatives, officially launched the city’s first Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin. This initiative marks a pivotal step in Green Bay's ongoing efforts to enhance community safety.

The primary objectives of the new plan are to implement gun violence reduction strategies, support community violence intervention, and sustain the work of the OVP.

A critical component of this strategy is the introduction of Violence Interrupters (VIs). Jerry Overstreet, Director of the OVP, emphasized the unique role these interrupters will play in fostering relationships and addressing violence within the community.

“I think it's a unique piece because we get to build bridges, forming relationships that bring people together who might not otherwise engage in conversations about what's really going on,” said Overstreet.

Mayor Genrich noted that similar safety initiatives have been successful nationwide.

“Efforts like these are gaining traction across the nation. There is a recognition that, especially during COVID, violent crime increased in many areas. In response, the federal government has funded numerous similar initiatives,” Mayor Genrich explained. “It's connected to a broader shift in mindset. Creating mentorship programs, summer job opportunities, and deploying violence interrupters can effectively prevent violence before it starts.”

Formed in 2023 after Green Bay received a million dollar grant from the Medical College of Wisconsin, the OVP is an additional resource complementing the work of the Green Bay Police Department. The Violence Interrupters team aims to reduce violence by supporting those who are at the highest risk. They will listen to those impacted by violence, empower community members, and build bridges between different community groups and the police.

“We've got our gun violence reduction strategies, which is a key reason the OVP office was established, especially given the increase in gun violence during COVID. But we also focus on community violence intervention, addressing various aspects of violence and its root causes,” Overstreet added.

Green Bay's new Community Safety Plan is a collaborative effort to create a safer environment for all residents. With a focus on integration, mentorship, and intervention, Mayor Genrich expressed pride in the community's safety progress while acknowledging there is always room for improvement.

“We will not be satisfied until Green Bay is the safest community in the country,” stated Mayor Genrich.