There’s a group of volunteers looking to stop violence before it happens.
They’re called the “Violence Interrupters,” and they’re popping up in cities with rising crime across the country.
According to a 2017 post from the National Gang Center’s website, those who take up the mantle of “Violence Interrupter” typically have previous dealings with criminal enterprises which allow for them to “utilize these personal relationships to address ongoing disputes, which may prevent them from escalating into shootings.”
NBC 5 Chicago reports how one such group composed of about 50 former servicemen and martial artists have begun riding the Chicago Transit Authority amidst the rise in violence on the transportation system in the hopes of mitigating such crime, preferably before any aggression takes place.
“We are not the police, we are not vigilantes, we don’t plan to hurt anybody,” tells lead Interrupter, Tio Hardman, to the news station.
But this movement isn’t specific to just Chicago: Fox 9 details how another Violence Interrupters group is being depended upon by communities in Minneapolis, Minn., as police officers leave in droves, so much so that some legislators are proposing sending funds their way.
“Violence Interrupters can and will make a difference with the support of the entire community, by staying pro-active and not ignoring the violence and shootings that occur in the community at large,” reads the group’s website. “Violence is real and it’s a real problem that can be solved.”