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City and county partnership launch violence interruption program, starts mid-July in Beatties Ford corridor

The program is actively hiring six violence interrupters at YAPINC.org
Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County partnered together to bring a violence prevention program to the city.

It’s been in the works for months but now the program, ‘Alternatives to Violence,’ or ATV, is ready to launch.

ATV will serve as a specialized violence prevention program, focused for now in the Beatties Ford corridor. Beatties Ford was chosen for its rich history and culture.

The city says making the neighborhood safer is the first step in redeveloping the neighborhood to bring better opportunities to the people who have traditionally lived there.

The ATV program will hire six violence interrupters who will provide conflict mediation services in the Beatties Ford neighborhood.

The job description on Youth Advocate Programs Inc’s website says violence interrupters will be tasked with detective potential shooting events, identify people with high-risk involvement in a shooting or killing, mediate and resolve conflicts and formulate plans to resolve conflicts.

“Eliminate violence by addressing the root causes of violence. We will be doing that with our many years of successful programs in Chicago, DC and now Charlotte and Mecklenburg County,” said Gary Ivory who is president of Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.

Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. or YAP Inc., is a nationwide program that works with teens and young adults to prevent crime and bring better opportunities to cities.

YAP Inc., partnered with Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte to bring this program to the Charlotte community.

But first they need to find the right employees with experience in community programs and youth development.

“We’re looking for employees to model the kind of change and behavior that we’re looking for. Again, people with a big heart and commitment to change,” Ivory said.

Alternatives to Violence or ATV has been more than a year in the making with the city council first started talking about a program like this in January of 2020. But the COVID-19 pandemic slowed progress.

City Councilman Malcolm Graham says the launch of the program is timely as we approach a year since the Beatties Ford mass shooting where 4 people were killed.

“It’s another step forward. In order for us to create the type of environment on Beatties Ford Road where people want to shop and restaurants and retail opportunity, people first have to believe it’s safe,” said Graham. “This is the step in the right direction to laying a foundation to make sure that Beatties Ford Road and Lasalle is not a hot spot because of crime but is a hot spot because of the banking and the retail and the people coming together.”

The program is actively recruiting six violence interrupters from the Beatties Ford neighborhood who have experience in youth programs and violence interruption.

Some of the job tasks would include identifying high risk people in the neighborhood, working with teens and young adults on conflict resolution and mediating fights between people before they are escalated to a shooting.

You can go to YAPINC.org for the application.

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