Jackson mayor takes action against increasing gun violence

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Jackson, MI (WILX) -- Just days after he witnessed a shooting, Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies laid out a plan to reduce gun violence in the city. The plan includes:

  • requiring some businesses to install cameras outside their buildings

  • a new ordinance aimed at illegally carrying weapons in vehicles

  • resolutions "discouraging domestic violence and cyberbullying"

  • training programs for "underserved communities"

  • funding community-based "violence intervention programming"

Dobies said the $150,000 intervention program is modeled after the "Cure Violence' program used in more than 50 communities around the country. The money will pay for things like outreach workers, training and educational materials. The Cure Violence web site claims the program helped reduce gun violence by 63% in New York City and by 30% in Philadelphia.

"The proposal for planting cameras around the community I think will be very effective," said Thomas Burke, the Founder and Executive Director of Save Our Youth, Inc in Jackson.

The group is a non-profit, youth mentoring organization that supports the community creating an action plan to stop crime.

"There's a lack of opportunity. Job opportunity. The housing opportunities in this community are not good," Burke said in response to why there's violence in the city. "We're not going to tolerate this violence, the gun violence that's happening in our community. We want our community to be a safe place for our children. We want it to be safe for our elderly."

Mayor Dobies said FBI crime stats show Jackson has more reports of gun violence than any city in Michigan with a population around 32,000 people. 343 incidents were reported in 2016, 320 in 2017 and 394 last year.

The Mayor said he saw shots fired on 2nd Street on Sunday night.

"There was about 20 shots that I heard. A little bit of a pause and another 5 shots and then I heard a truck gun it and it flew right by me. I was standing in the sidewalk," he said. "We get people that are looking to leave the community and people that we probably lose from not moving into the community.'

A report from the police department says shell casings were found in the area. It does not say anyone was hurt.

The Mayor said his proposals will be given to the city council at its meeting on Tuesday, October 15.

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