AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) — The city of Aurora is one step closer to approving a new plan that addresses youth violence.
The Aurora Youth Violence Prevention Program presented a strategy to city council members Monday.
The city’s violence prevention team spent a year coming up with a plan, but a few city leaders had objections to the strategy. Some say there needs to be more understanding about what’s driving youth violence.
The city is giving $500,000 to community programs working to combat youth violence.
Local nonprofit Compound of Compassion applied for the grant.
“There are so many different components that go into youth violence that we are not addressing,” said Shana Shaw, executive director at Compound of Compassion. “We can’t put a Band-Aid over the bullet wound if we’re not actually taking the bullet out and sewing the wound itself. Youth violence encompasses a lot of different things.”
The city says $400,000 dollars of funding will go toward intervention. One hundred thousand dollars will go toward funding prevention.
“There’s a piece that has to take place prior to any of these incidents occurring,” Shaw said. “We need to be supporting organizations who have the programs to create prevention so that we’re not reacting and intervening after a situation has occurred.”
Shaw says tackling this crisis shouldn’t be reactionary. Compound of Compassion collaborates with other organizations to coordinate and host events within neighborhoods that are experiencing higher rates of youth violence.
“Our youth are carrying weapons right now because they don’t feel safe in our community,” Shaw said. “That’s not a youth situation; that’s an adult situation. That’s a community situation because we haven’t created a safe environment for them that allows them to not feel like they need to carry weapons in order to feel protected.”
Addressing the risk factors is key, but Shaw also says it’s important to recognize the barriers keeping some teens from resources offered to them.
“I’m concerned about what the summer is going to look like,” Shaw said. “I’ve asked a lot of organizations to come together and say these are some things that we’re going to be offering over the summer. Whatever it takes to get them here and involved so that they’re active and have resources and feel supported. We can’t wait until violence is in our home. It’s at our front door and heaven forbid it ends up in your home.”