Allentown officials consider spending millions on a program to curb city gun violence

Written by on April 12, 2021

Allentown officials consider spending millions on a program to curb city gun violence

By Tyler Pratt

April 12, 2021

Photo by Somchai Kongkamsri from Pexels

Allentown officials are considering whether to invest in a multi-million dollar program that aims to curb city gun violence. Neighborhood advocates say it appears to have reduced shootings in some other major U.S. cities. 

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Violence and gang activity is prevalent in Allentown according to the most recent Community Health Needs Assessments from major local healthcare providers.

The “Cure Violence” program has been used in Baltimore, Chicago and New York. Pas Simpson with Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley points to research from Northwestern University. 

“In Northwest Chicago, we’ve seen that it’s reduced shootings by 41 to 73%,” Simpson says.  

“Outreach Workers” are trained to interact with high-risk groups and intervene when there is potential for violence. Simpson says this can mean quickly deploying them to homes, streets and hospitals when there’s been a shooting to prevent retaliation. 

“We can then sit with that person, talk with that person and get them to understand why vengeance shouldn’t be an option,” Simpson says. 

Simpson is asking for nearly $2 million to fund the program. City officials say the next step is to get feedback from the Allentown Police Department before they consider moving forward. 

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