TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - The Toledo Community Initiative to Reduce Violence is a multi-teared initiative that uses law enforcement, social services and community leaders to take an active role in reducing the gang and gun violence in the city.
"We can lock people up forever. But, I am really concerned about the young people in this community and them having an opportunity to do something different for once," said Sgt. Anita Madison with the Toledo Police Department.
The program targets known gang members who are on parole and probation and requires them to attend mandatory random call-ins put on by the police as a way to spread the word that violence will not be tolerated.
Sgt. Anita Madison is the project manager for the Toledo Community Initiative to Reduce Violence and said the mission of this program is one that she takes personally.
"Next body that drops, next gang shooting that happens we're not only going to target the shooter, we're going to target the whole group," said Sgt. Madison.
TPD said the message lingered with no activity for about three weeks before Toledo Police say the Smith Street Mafia was involved in a shooting.
Police handed down stiff felony charges of criminal gang activity to eight members of the gang affiliated with the Bloods.
"Because we are tired of shootings and violence and we're pulling out all stops to make sure that this violence stop," said Sgt. Madison.
The eight members were then used as a part of the warning message presented at the second call in Friday.
"These individuals are up on the screen for a new group of people who were called in to say, we're going to deliver this message again, they didn't get the message, they didn't take heed to the message," said Madison.
Sgt. Madison said the goal of the program is to make Toledo safer by changing the way gang members live.
"The individuals that participate in the call in, in particular have a unique opportunity right then and there to connect with services. We had a number of individuals sign up for services, we're pleased with that," said Sgt. Madison.
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