There have been seven murders and nearly 60 shootings in Providence so far this year. Now, police and local groups are saying this has got to stop.
They held a peace rally Tuesday night at Children's Friend on Point Street in Providence. Children's Friend and Project Night Vision organized the event, which the mayor, several city council member and local police attended. Victims of violence got up and spoke at the event, as well as the chief of police. There were about 150 there. The main message was violence is all of our problem, no matter what Providence neighborhood we live in.
Abc6 dug dipper to find out what sparked this rally in the first place and how the capital city can turn this violence around.
The Olneyville Neighborhood of Providence is home to two rival housing projects and typically a lot of crime. "This neighborhood in the past was the number one zip code for people coming out of jail ," said Teny Gross of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Non-Violence, "A lot of challenges, but really they managed to turn it around."
Gross has worked with gang members and drug dealers for 23 years there. He's built bonds with them. And recent investments in new, affordable housing there is also helping the struggling community.
"The lesson of Olneyville, of this part, is really partnerships," said Gross, "Partnerships are very, very important."
Partnerships are also what organizers of the peace rally were trying to create. The rally was their response to a spike in violence in the capital city.
There were 15 shootings in the capital city in two weeks, and seven murders so far this year.
"I don't think anyone believes that the gathering tonight is going to end the violence," said Children's Friend President David Caprio Tuesday, "But what we do hope is by making connections and bringing people together, we build a stronger community and our stronger community can stop the violence."
Gross said it can't hurt, using Olneyville as and example. It's not perfect, one of this year's murders was there, but it can get better.
"We need to bring awareness," said Gross, "There's day to day work that happens all the time, but sometimes we need to stop and tell the larger part of society, that we cannot lose our focus when it comes to violence."
Providence Police are also announcing a new initiative this week to curb the escalating violence.