Karen Coleman says she remembers the turning point when her peaceful neighborhood in the Hilltop seemed to explode with violence.
“There was a young boy that was killed in this park here,” she said.
“You’re fearful. You don’t know what’s going to happen in your home whenever you’re going to leave. I never used to be that way before,”
A break-in at her home and a gruesome discovery next door left Coleman searching for answers.
“They found a 21-year-old woman just lying dead in the yard next door to me,” she said.
She isn’t the only one fed up.
“[People feel like] prisoners in their own homes,” said Billy Reedus, who leads the crime prevention committee Building Responsibility, Equality and Dignity (B.R.E.A.D.).
B.R.E.A.D has hosted 140 house meetings since the fall and about 1,100 citizens have shown up.
“People want to feel safe in their homes,” Reedus said.
One method B.R.E.A.D believes can work in Columbus is C.I.R.V., the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence.
How it works: law enforcement agents work with the court system and social services to deliver consequences to groups that continue to conduct criminal activity. But they also offer a way out to offenders who want to stop.
The program aims to rapidly reduce gun violence and homicides and is already being used in Cincinnati.
“We all want a better city to live in,” Reedus said–a safe place where futures are not cut short.
“We’re talking about someone’s life here and that life could have done something that made some big changes here, but instead it’s gone,” said Coleman.
B.R.E.A.D. hosted its annual community meeting Monday night at 7 at the Celeste Center.
Nearly 3,000 people were expected to attend, including key decisionmakers who could help bring C.I.R.V to Central Ohio.