Dramatically reducing the violence in our communities will require involvement and dedication from elected officials, civic and community leaders, youth and their families, philanthropy, and more.
Getting people interested in Cities United and its work is often as simple as talking to them about it. But to do so effectively, it’s important to begin these conversations with a strategy and with knowledge about the issues related to our work. Below is a handful of key talking points about Cities United and its work:
- To create healthier, safer, more hopeful communities, Cities United asks mayors to focus on neighborhoods facing violence, and engage with African American young men to find solutions that end that violence. Rooted in solid research and practical experience, Cities United helps mayors succeed through prevention instead of just prosecution, intervention rather than just incarceration.
- We have to invest in education at home and at school, working with educators and parents to teach every child to read. Expanding kids’ opportunity to learn through better schools and new skills for parents, boosts children’s lifelong ability to succeed, stay away from crime, and contribute fully as adults.
- Research shows that economic opportunity is a powerful antidote for community violence. One study found, for example, that a ten percent increase in wages could reduce young people’s participation in crime by as much as 9 percent. That’s good for families, for neighborhoods, and for the future of our country.
- Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that cutting violence in half would save our country over $35 billion in medical and productivity costs alone.
- We know that communities with high unemployment, underachieving schools and a lack of other resources have high rates of violence. This problem particularly hurts children and young adults who may end up hurt, killed, or in prison. If we take a commonsense approach to solving our communities’ problems, we can decrease violence and enhance public safety. On the other hand, if we just spend resources sending more people to prison instead of using proven alternatives, these problems will remain. A responsible approach to preventing violence will make our city safer and benefit everyone.
- By working together, we can save the lives of 14,000 young people each year—thousands of fathers and sons, brothers and grandsons, workers and entrepreneurs.