AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– The Aurora Police Department says factors like quick release in jails due to COVID-19, economic and emotional stress are leading to an increase in gun violence in the city. Along with new programs like directed patrols, foot patrols, and gang intervention units, the City of Aurora is also targeting youth through a new initiative.
The Youth Violence Prevention Program is just one piece of a larger mission for the city as they work to combat gun violence. Program manager Christina Amparan, says the city has allocated $1.1 million to provide services, including pop-up events to keep kids out of trouble.
“In order for us to be impactful and provide wraparound support that our families need, we need to be able to have our hospitals at the table, mental health providers, our department of human services, and our schools in order for us to be able to address all the risk factors,” Amparan said.
Amparan was one of many Aurora city leaders, including Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, to talk about gun violence during a virtual work session Monday.
“When we look at long-term violence prevention, we look at the impact of the youth before they are so far into the situation that they are going to become adults committing crimes in Aurora,” Wilson said.
The City of Aurora has a compact agreement to work with the City of Denver on youth violence prevention. Amparan says violence doesn’t stop at the city line.
“Both cities are committing to working together to implement a regional approach to address the youth violence that’s happening within both cities. We do recognize that the violent behavior does cross the boundaries between both cities and there’s a lot of opportunity for both cities to partner to leverage resources,” Amparan said.
The Youth Violence Prevention Program is using that $1.1 million to fund dozens of pop-up events throughout the city where families can have access to programs and services.