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FGCU launches free workshops to foster equity, retain workers; Supreme Court throws out race claim in SC redistricting case in win for GOP; as millions hit the roads, MI lawmakers consider extra driving fees; CT groups prepare for World Fish Migration Day.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

'Operation Good' works to curb violent crime in Jackson

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Monday, February 12, 2024   

A group of formerly incarcerated people is making headway in Jackson, Mississippi, to turn young lives around and prevent violent crime.

On average, the violent crime rate in Jackson is just over six per 1,000 residents. The group Operation Good said it has helped to significantly lower crime rates in the areas it serves, from 87% down to 14%, in one neighborhood.

Fredrick Womack, founder and executive director of the group, said the goals are to also stop recidivism, clean up the environment and find alternatives to violence and robbery.

"We're building that 'Unity in the Community,'" Womack explained. "It's kind of created a cohesiveness amongst the people within the community to make them to take more value in where they live, and make them more attentive to the things that have gone on around them."

A goal of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety is to reduce the overall violent crime rate in the state by 5%, using federal grant funds. Womack pointed out their door-to-door street teams patrol neighborhoods day and night, and have been able to resolve many issues before they can escalate.

Womack emphasized their community engagement efforts also include providing food to families in need, and educational and mentoring programs for youth ages 13-26. He said so far, they have mentored 224 young people, which has helped to minimize conflict.

"In the mentoring process, we talk to them about life," Womack emphasized. "We gave a lot of these high-risk participants an outlet before they could do something. And then, they know that they can't just be out there the way that they were, because we are present."

Womack added they have become more involved in schools to help counteract a significant increase in bullying and peer pressure issues. They are collaborating with a group in North Jackson to develop a new, anti-bullying initiative to launch in area schools.


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