Linn County one of eight in nation to receive CDC funding for violence prevention

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 6:12 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Linn County has been selected to receive $250,000 per year over five years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for violence prevention.

The county was one of just eight jurisdictions in the nation to receive the PREVAYL funding, which stands for Preventing Violence Affecting Young Lives.

According to Cedar Rapids police records, there has been more violent crime in the city so far this year than the past 5-year average.

Reaching young people to prevent violence is exactly the goal of ReSET CR. They have been meeting with those caught up in violence and potential victims, to try and help.

”We want to help you to deal with trauma and conflict that you’ve experienced in ways that don’t hurt other people,” Rachel Rockwell, SET Fund program officer, said.

Dr. Pramod Dwivedi, Linn County Public Health director, said that the county was selected to receive the money because of the foundation it already has in place to address violence.

”With our new grant we are hoping that we can build upon already ongoing work within our community,” Dwivedi said.

Officials said that part of that work is shifting the culture.

Earlier this month, six people were shot at a hotel in southwest Cedar Rapids. Police Chief Wayne Jerman told us witnesses, and even victims, of that shooting haven’t been cooperating in the investigation. And last week, someone shot at a rideshare driver’s vehicle on 19th Street Southeast with passengers in the car. Police believe those passengers were the targets of the shooting, the driver told us they ran from the scene.

We asked Rockwell how those advocating for peace in the streets are going about addressing violence where witnesses aren’t helping law enforcement.

”One of the things that needs to happen in our community is to have dialog and have conversations and build community in a way where law enforcement and community members who are most impacted by violence can talk to each other,” Rockwell said.

Leaders hope the new funds will help expand efforts and messaging in a way that has a lasting impact.

”Engaging our stakeholders, community partners, marketing and messaging so that we can sensitize folks in Cedar Rapids, in Linn County, in order to reduce youth violence,” Dwivedi said.

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