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City of Columbus Office of Violence Prevention Presentation

November 8, 2023

City of Columbus Office of Violence Prevention Presentation

Office of Violence Prevention

On Friday, Nov 3rd, the Criminal Justice Research Center hosted guest speakers Director Rena Shak and her team from the Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) for the City of Columbus, along with Assistant Director Molly Robbins and her team from the office of the Columbus Violence Reduction (CVR).

In March of 2023, Mayor Andrew J. Ginther appointed former Ohio State graduate Rena Shak to lead the newly created Office of Violence Prevention. During the discussion, Director Shak and her team shared a lot of information on their work within the community and what strategies they are utilizing among neighborhood safety and violence prevention responses city-wide to reduce violent crime throughout Columbus. Assistant Director Robbins also discussed the exciting work that is being done within the Columbus Violence Reduction (CVR) to reduce violence and improve the quality of life, while assisting participants with changing their lives so that they remain safe, alive and out-of-prison.

Team members Jamar Harris and Shavonne Jones who are Community Relations coordinators, Interventionist Nello Jennings and Deputy Director Dr. Joanne Lunceford, discussed different aspects of how the importance of community engagement, conducting daily check ins, communication, collaboration and establishing trust were proactive strategies to preventing crimes.

In October of this year, both the CVR and OVP entities were a part of the Columbus call in event of that included paroled gang members, the Columbus Division of Police, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio, the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office, Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children and the Franklin County Coroner's Office. There, the paroled gang members were presented with the potential consequences of committing more crimes while community partners offered resources to aid them to stay out of trouble, including help with job placement and financial assistance.

The Office of Violence Prevention and Columbus Violence Reduction (CVR) are two different independent entities. The Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) is the city's coordination center for violence prevention resources and activities. Columbus Violence Reduction (CVR) is Columbus’ adaptation of the Group Violence Intervention (GVI) model out of the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC) focusing on those group members at highest risk of committing violent crime and becoming victims themselves.