Macon-Bibb County Named Top 10 City for Community Violence Prevention Readiness

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In a report released on Friday, March 1, Macon-Bibb County was recognized as one of the top 10 cities in the nation for its readiness in preventing community violence, attributed to its Macon Violence Prevention (MVP) program. The 2023 Violence Prevention Index (VPI) was unveiled by Community Justice, a national organization advocating for community-led solutions to curb gun violence.

“Our community came together 3 years ago to take a stand against violent crime…to protect our home,” remarked Mayor Lester Miller. “The work of more than 60 agencies and organizations is truly making a difference in our neighborhoods.”

Macon-Bibb County was ranked tied for sixth out of 100 U.S. cities in readiness to respond to gun violence according to the VPI. The assessment encompassed various categories such as outreach programs, victim services, housing assistance, workforce development, and mental health crisis response.

The MVP initiative commenced in 2021 to address the escalating homicide rate witnessed in other cities at the time. Despite forecasts indicating several years would be required to observe significant results, there was notable progress in the initial year. Between 2022 and 2023, homicides decreased by nearly 43%, dropping from 70 to 40. Notably, homicides involving children (aged 18 and under) plummeted from 15 in 2022 to 5 in 2023, marking a substantial 66.7% reduction within a year.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to support the work of more than sixty community organizations that are implementing best practices to make our community safer,” stated Kathryn Dennis, President of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.

Amber Goodwin, Founder of Community Justice, emphasized the importance of community-driven interventions in combating gun violence, particularly in communities of color disproportionately affected by the crisis. Goodwin highlighted the collaborative efforts of lawmakers, community leaders, and advocates in Macon-Bibb County, emphasizing the effectiveness of such strategies.

“Improving public safety is the most important issue for our community, and we are bringing together every person, organization, and effort to make sure our families are safe,” Mayor Miller reiterated.

The Community Justice Violence Prevention Index (VPI) serves as an evaluation tool for assessing the structural framework and resources dedicated to community violence prevention readiness in each rated municipality. It underscores the significance of evidence-based, community-led approaches anchored in a public health framework to address gun violence effectively.

As the report underscores the importance of sustained investments in violence prevention programs, local governments are urged to ensure the permanency of robust funding in their budgets to combat gun violence effectively.

About Macon Violence Prevention 

Macon Violence Prevention is an evidence-based, multifaceted program created to address public safety in Macon-Bibb County. Supported and funded by the consolidated government, MVP is a community-wide effort that brings together elected officials, community leaders and representatives from more than 60 agencies, organizations, and departments.

The MVP program operates under the guidance of the MVP Strategic Plan, which was created in June of 2021 by community stakeholders and violent crime experts. The plan combines data and research with community feedback to identify and implement proven solutions that reduce violent crime and strengthen the community over time.

In its first two years, Macon-Bibb and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia have awarded more than $1.6 million to 56 local nonprofit organizations that have identified proven or innovative solutions to reducing violent crime.

“The solution to violent crime in our community will be found in all of us working together on the same team,” explained Mayor Lester Miller. “By working together, we will create a safer, stronger community now and for future generations.”