Macon-Bibb County

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Macon-Bibb named national leader in violence prevention efforts

In a report released on Friday, March 1, Macon-Bibb County was named as one of the top 10 cities in the country for community violence prevention readiness, thanks to its Macon Violence Prevention (MVP) program. The 2023 Violence Prevention Index (VPI) was released by Community Justice, a national organization advocating for community-led solutions to end gun violence.

“Our community came together 3 years ago to take a stand against violent crime…to protect our home,” says Mayor Lester Miller. “The work of more than 60 agencies and organizations is truly making a difference in our neighborhoods.”

In the VPI, Macon-Bibb County was tied for sixth out of 100 U.S. cities in the country ready to respond to gun violence. It was ranked on several categories, including outreach and hospital-based violence intervention programs; victims and survivor services; emergency and transitional housing; food assistance programs; workforce development programs; community-based mental health crisis response programs; and more. The full report can be found by clicking here.

MVP began in 2021 to address the issue of a rising homicide rate, similar to what other cities were seeing at the time.. Though leaders said from the beginning it would take several years to see full results, there was significant improvement in the first year. From 2022 to 2023, there was a nearly 43% reduction in homicides, from 70 to 40. The reduction in homicides for children (those 18 years old and younger) went from 15 in 2022 to 5 in 2023 – which is a 66.7% reduction in just one year.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to support the work of more than sixty community organizations that are implementing best practices to make our community safer,” says Community Foundation of Central Georgia President Kathryn Dennis. “This top 10 ranking from Community Justice validates the efficacy of the MVP program and is a credit to the work of our grantees.”

“The gun violence epidemic continues to tear apart communities, senselessly cutting lives short and inflicting indescribable devastation on families across America. This work is about listening, learning, and supporting the work of the advocates and folks on the frontlines. We have ample research supporting the success of community violence intervention programs proven to end gun violence,” said Amber Goodwin, Founder of Community Justice. “The Macon-Bibb community is taking important steps to curb gun violence by putting together a coalition of lawmakers, community leaders and advocates to bring various solutions to the table. Together, this community driven model is investing in the necessary infrastructure to curb gun violence, especially in Black and brown communities disproportionately impacted by this crisis. Community Justice looks forward to working with local officials and community leaders to end this epidemic with solutions we know are effective and save communities money and lives.”

“Improving public safety is the most important issue for our community, and we are bringing together every person, organization, and effort to make sure our families are safe,” adds Mayor Miller.

The Community Justice Violence Prevention Index (VPI) evaluates the structural framework and resources each rated municipality has established for community violence prevention readiness. This measure is an important assessment of the policies and protocols needed to effectively reduce gun violence in Black and brown communities over time. This second annual report is not a companion to crime statistics, but rather a policy-centric report card for local lawmakers seeking effective solutions to prevent gun violence.

The VPI was created to encourage local governments to invest in violence intervention and prevention strategies that are evidence-based, community-led, and anchored in a public health approach. This report lays out a comprehensive roadmap of violence intervention and prevention strategies and policies that are most impactful for the Black and brown communities most impacted by gun violence. As recent major federal funding streams approach expiration, the report also calls on cities to ensure that robust investments in violence prevention programs are permanent components of their general fund budgets.

About Macon Violence Prevention 

Macon Violence Prevention is an evidence-based, multifaceted program created to address public safety in Macon-Bibb County. Supported and funded by the consolidated government, MVP is a community-wide effort that brings together elected officials, community leaders and representatives from more than 60 agencies, organizations, and departments.

The MVP program operates under the guidance of the MVP Strategic Plan, which was created in June of 2021 by community stakeholders and violent crime experts. The plan combines data and research with community feedback to identify and implement proven solutions that reduce violent crime and strengthen the community over time.

In its first two years, Macon-Bibb and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia have awarded more than $1.6 million to 56 local nonprofit organizations that have identified proven or innovative solutions to reducing violent crime.

“The solution to violent crime in our community will be found in all of us working together on the same team,” explained Mayor Lester Miller. “By working together, we will create a safer, stronger community now and for future generations.”

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