Columbus Mayor's Budget To Tackle Gang Violence


UPDATED: Tuesday November 15, 2011 7:31 PM

Mayor Michael Coleman announced at City Hall on Tuesday that most of his 2012 budget will go toward bringing down violence in the city.

Coleman's $735 million dollar budget will include an increase in police officers and more money to help attack gang violence, 10TV's Kevin Landers reported.

The budget will maintain city services and also bring back the summer strike force to address areas of the city where crime is prevalent.

Sixty-nine percent of the General Operating Fund will be given to the Department of Public Safety, allocating $273 million to the Division of Police and $217 million for the Division of Fire.

The budget allows for two new police classes, adding 80 officers to the force and one new fire class, which would add 35 firefighters to the city.

The mayor said that his budget aims to add 180,000 new jobs by 2020.

According to Coleman, $30 million will be given to the Department of Recreation and Parts for park, trail and recreation center management.  This portion of the budget will also go to expanding a gang intervention program called Applications for Pride, Purpose and Success (APPS) which employs street soldiers to get troubled youth off the street.

Pam Green is trying to raise her children the right way, but said it is not easy in her south side neighborhood.

"It's too much violence in this neighborhood, too many people are dying. Too many people are getting hurt, it's absolutely ridiculous," Green said.

Coleman said the APPS program will use recreation centers in the city to get kids off the street and into sports to help them learn a skill.

Green said that she likes the sound of the program.

"I think it sounds good, if he could get the people to actually get the kids into the rec centers and hopefully open the allegiance boys and girls club, I think that would be a good thing," Green said.

Coleman's plan is loosely based on the success  of similar programs in Chicago and Los Angeles.

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