Council to weigh $693,000 in crime prevention programs

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 25, 2013 

Columbus Crime Prevention Director Seth Brown will present 10 requests to Columbus Council Tuesday to approve funding for a variety of social service programs aimed at reducing crime and recidivism, assisting young people and at-risk families and fighting illiteracy, Brown confirmed Monday.

The total price tag for the 10 programs would be $693,500 and would be funded out of the crime prevention budget, already approved by Council in June.

Brown said it is unusual for him to bring all of the funding requests to council at once, but it was an approach that Bob Wright, chairman of the crime prevention board, wanted to take.

“It’s a goal we’ve been striving toward for a little over a year.” Brown said. “Dr. Wright said ‘What I really want to do is to try to approve all of these at once so you can be out in the field more often, working with the programs instead of being tied to your desk so much.’ ”

Two of the programs are new to the crime prevention office, Brown said: Education is the Answer, Inc. and SAMARC, Inc.

Education is the Answer is based in the Edgewood area, where Edgewood School recently closed. The program includes after-school tutoring, self-esteem building, leadership training and critical thinking, Brown said.

Brown said the SAMARC grant would not be for that foundation’s basketball program, but for its after-school tutorials and computer labs they’re conducting.

“I was amazed at the results they’ve gotten so far,” Brown said. “The numbers in improved test scores are pretty dramatic.”

The other programs, their budget request and their goals, according to Brown, are:

Boxwood recreation project, $80,000, to “provide quality programming for juveniles during summer, after school and provide a resource and location for community efforts to enrich the neighborhood.”

Columbus Technical College non-violent felon employment program, $80,000, “to employ non-violent felons and reduce the rate of recidivism.”

Family Center of Columbus F.A.S.T. program, $87,000, "for treatment of at-risk youth and families, to reduce the dropouts rate, juvenile crime rates and delinquency.”

Adult Drug Court, $75,000, for “the reduction of recidivism and continued drug use among adult offenders.”

Mental Health Court, $75,000, for “reduction of recidivism and continued drug use among adult offenders.”

Chattahoochee Valley Jail Ministry, Inc., $41,500, for “quality programming as well as mentoring for inmates within the Muscogee County Jail.”

Literacy Alliance of Columbus, $105,000, for “an effort to increase literacy rates of Muscogee County residents to reduce crime and lower recidivism rates among adults.”

Neighborhood Focused on African American Youth, Inc., $55,000, “to provide quality after school programming and tutoring for juveniles during the school year.”

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