Mayor Andrew Ginther and the Columbus Police Chief on Tuesday once again called on the community for help as Columbus surpassed 100 homicides for the year. With more than three months left in the year, the city is on track to break its 2017 record of 143 homicides.
In the latest of several press conference about the summer's crime spike, Ginther insisted the city is working to reduce gun violence, but moving the needle will require buy in throughout the city. He highlights one “micro-intervention” program in partnership with the county called Re-Route.
“The goal with Re-Route is to provide youth and often the whole family with needed resources for stabilizing the family versus prosecution,” Ginther explains.
The mayor argues a significant portion of the violence Columbus is seeing can be tied to COVID-19.
“Our uptick in violence here in Columbus can be traced back to the ramifications of a global pandemic,” Ginther says. “Unemployment, housing instability, no in person school, athletics, and afterschool extracurricular activities.”
Ginther says the city is using federal CARES Act funding wherever it can to address those underlying circumstances. One example he brought up was the city’s investment in Chromebooks for students who need to get online for remote classes.
Last month, Ginther announced $2 million in CARES Act funding for social service agencies and community partners to conduct outreach to young people. The city also launched a new Family Stabilization Unit that they say will help families navigate available services.