Oakland, CA, May 12, 2011—"Violence continues to be a priority concern and a pressing public health issue in cities across the country, as evidenced by today's release of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) focusing on violence-related firearm deaths in the US. Numbers alone can't capture the serious impact that violence has on all of us—young people, families, communities and taxpayers—but they do illuminate that we must step up our investment in prevention strategies that work."
"Violence is preventable, not inevitable. Cities with greater coordination and collaboration have lower rates of violence. Everybody wins when the mayor's office, public health department, the school system and law enforcement work closely to set in motion a comprehensive strategic plan. A strong and growing evidence base confirms that it is possible to prevent shootings and killings and prevent violence in the long run. "
"Prevention Institute's Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth (UNITY) initiative, funded by CDC, works with large US cities to prevent violence before it occurs so that urban youth can thrive in safe environments, with ample opportunities and supportive relationships. Cities are working hard, and they need support. The UNITY Policy Platform, developed in partnership with cities around the country, describes what needs to be in place on the ground in cities to prevent violence and the supports that cities need to be successful and sustainable in their efforts. (Read the full platform). We need to make changes, like ensuring every young person has a caring adult; accelerating economic recovery in poor neighborhoods; street outreach and interruption in highly impacted neighborhoods; and fostering community engagement and empowerment, as laid out in the UNITY Policy Platform."
"Investments in preventing violence pay off. By spending money now to prevent violence in the first place, cities and states can save money and lives in the long term. When all people are safe and healthy, taxpayers will save money in emergency medical care costs, criminal justice expenses, work loss and school absences, and economic divestment when businesses deem an area too dangerous and move elsewhere."
"We know how to prevent violence. Preventing violence requires everyone working together so that all our young people grow up safe, healthy and successful. With a coordinated prevention approach and adequate support, cities can prevent violence before it happens and create peaceful communities with thriving youth."