Group meets young people where they’re at to try and prevent gun violence in Cedar Rapids

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 5:29 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -The SET Fund recently published a white paper detailing how it’s been addressing the issue of gun violence involving young people in Cedar Rapids.

“No doubt, this work has saved lives,” Rachel Rockwell, the SET Fund’s program manager, said.

According to the white paper, only a small number of the general population in Cedar Rapids is involved in violent street groups.

”Just around one-half of one percent of the population are suffering or creating kind of the traumatic experiences,” Rockwell said.

In Cedar Rapids, that would amount to less than 100 people.

ReSET CR is a group of community members that formed through the SET Fund. They’re actively meeting young people where they’re at to try and prevent gun violence.

”We go, we meet with them, go to their homes and the primary message is I love you. We want you safe, alive and out of prison,” Turé Morrow explained.

The pandemic stopped most activities, but it did not stop shootings which were on the rise. ReSET CR did porch talks to meet with at-risk young people as they isolated, and they’re looking at data from 2019 to 2020 to get a baseline.

“In Cedar Rapids, the gun homicide rate only increased 42.9% compared to 80% overall for the state,” Rockwell said.

The goal is to prevent gun violence before it’s too late, and they’ll measure the success of their efforts along the way.

“Some of the things that we’ll look at, at the end of the year are like the number of shots fired that are reported, and the number of folks who get hit with bullets, and the number of homicides,” Rockwell said.

“We need everybody to pitch in and realize that these youths, they’re not bad kids, they just need guidance and direction,” Morrow said.

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