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On Thursday, June 10, Mayor Lester Miller – along with elected officials, faith leaders, law enforcement agencies, government departments, community partner organizations, and more – came together to announce the launch of MVP, or Macon Violence Prevention.

"We all know someone whose family has been directly affected by violent crime. Every story we read and every statistic we hear is someone's child, someone's brother or sister, or someone's mother, father, or friend," said Mayor Miller. "This is personal, and it impacts every single one of us. And it will take each one of us giving and doing more to fix the problem ."

Within 30 days, a series of community meetings will be scheduled to identify the needs of neighborhoods and continue to bring together organizations ready and willing to meet those specific needs and reduce violent crime. With that information, the partners will have a plan developed in about 90 days.

To join with MVP, sign up for updates, and follow the progress of the people and groups that are coming together, visit www.maconviolenceprevention.org and follow it on Facebook.

"MVP signals an historic moment for our community…one where we all come together as one to make our families, our neighborhoods, and our community a safer place to live. Public safety and reducing violence is the top priority for our community, and it needs to be the top priority for any person, group, department, agency, or organization that can help," said Mayor Lester Miller.

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At the announcement, the Mayor said this issue is so important to people, the launch of MVP isn't the first step, but it was a major step. His administration and many other agencies have already undertaken initiatives to address the root causes of criminal activity and to support law enforcement in their efforts to stop it.

"We started new programs like Macon Mental Health Matters, our aggressive Blight Fight campaign, Clean Streets Matter, and the Brookdale Warming Center because we know sustainable change requires a more holistic approach. It requires more work than just locking people up, though that does become necessary," said Mayor Miller. "We can help our officers be safer in their jobs if we can find ways to prevent violent crime before it happens."

Sheriff David Davis, District Attorney Anita Howard, and Bibb County School Superintendent Dr. Curtis Jones joined Mayor Miller with remarks on why MVP is so important and how they plan to join in the effort with what they do.

"It's important for us to hear and learn from those who are most affected by crime in our community," said Howard, as she announced different programs they plan to roll out to help bring awareness, such as RISE (Restoring Inspiration by Success and Education), focusing on the youth.

"When I think of our students who get up early and have to go to the bus stop, they should be able to get to the bus stop safely," said Dr. Jones. "They should not have to walk through a place where they're worried about what's going to happen when they get there…we need to improve this situation."

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They all pointed out that reducing crime will require a multi-faceted approach, it will require more than just more officers on the street. It will require focusing on proven outreach efforts, prevention programs, mental health services, jobs programs, mentors to young children, recreation activities, education services, and much more.

"Every single person standing here today has made a commitment to do what it takes to stem the violence in our community without regard for who gets the credit," said Mayor Miller. "We are all, each and every one of us, asking the community to join us, to join Team MVP in this most important work."

"I cannot do this alone…WE cannot do this alone. Today, June 10, we are asking for your help…our community, our neighbors, our friends, our families…are asking for your help," Mayor Miller added. "I have always said that Macon is the best place with the best people on earth. That's still true today, and that's how I know that together, we can make our communities and our neighborhoods safer."

To join with MVP, sign up for updates, and follow the progress of the people and groups that are coming together, visit www.maconviolenceprevention.org and follow it on Facebook.

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