By Mekialaya White

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Over the past year, Christina Amparan has worked to develop a strategic, comprehensive plan to help combat crime in the city of Aurora. As program manager of the Aurora Youth Violence Prevention Program, she says it’s her responsibility to advocate for youth who aren’t otherwise seen.

“We’re in a critical stage right now within the city of Aurora,” Amparan told CBS4’s Mekialaya White. In fact, she calls the rapid escalation in violence in her city a public health crisis.

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“Throughout my career working within the school and criminal systems, I’ve seen the need to ensure that youth have not just the resources, but the support and advocates in place to ensure that their voice is being heard. We know that in order for us to see the reduction in victimization and delinquency and violent crime we need to implement not just short term but long-term strategy.”

The Aurora Youth Violence Prevention Program launched in 2021. Since then, her group has been meeting to finalize a plan to carry it forward. On Tuesday night, her team asked for city council for that approval.

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The program takes a four-pronged approach to remedying the issue. Firstly, it suggests a collaborative effort to make sure community groups are working together to address impacts of violent behavior.

Secondly, it allocates $500,000 in city funds to the community, giving organizations opportunities to apply for funding.

“Four hundred thousand dollars of that will go toward intervention funding and $100,000 toward prevention funding,” said Amparan. “We know that a lot of our youth have very specific needs and we want to ensure that we are partnering with community-based organizations to address those needs.”

The third focus is on intervention response, which entails hiring a team of outreach specialists.

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“It’s asking; how do we respond within the community? Critical incident responses with schools and community organizations, which hopefully intervene with the violent behavior that’s been happening and prevent future retaliatory behaviors.”

The fourth aspect of the plan would implement a youth advisory council and youth-led service projects, offering youth opportunities to gain leadership skills.

“We want to facilitate community-led efforts to reduce those risk factors to include those violent behaviors,” Amparan said.

Amparan also noted that the violent behavior is crossing over municipalities, widespread in the Denver metro area. She says, under the plan, they will work with other city leaders as well.

Mekialaya White