Operation Good is taking a new approach to violence prevention in one south Jackson neighborhood
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There’s a lot of concern about gun violence in cities across the country. Operation Good is taking a different approach to violence prevention in a South Jackson neighborhood. It’s a 24/7 job that a handful of people in the community have committed to taking on.
“It’s been many situations that we’ve been called on. We have to go and talk to people, and we just stared down barrels of guns,” said Operation Good violence interrupter Jason White. “The guns have gotten pulled on us.”
White is a violence interrupter with Operation Good.
“You don’t have to always call the police. The situation can be resolved before the police get involved in it,” noted White.
Operation Good has four violence interrupters working in the community currently. They may hear shots, hear from word of mouth about a potential issue, or get word that people already have guns drawn, and they respond.
“It’s a dangerous job,” added White. “But somebody has to do it, and most of the time, we know some of the people, and we can get to them. We’ll talk to them. We’ll talk to this side and this side and see what’s going on, and we get to get together. We’re talking make arrangement agreement, where we get him together, and we’re coming together as a whole to talk about it and squash the problem before it keeps going on.”
They’ve worked to build up trust in this 44-block radius in South Jackson. Maybe you’re wondering how well this approach has worked. By the organization’s count, they had 389 days without a gun-related death in that zone. That running count ended when a 15-year-old was killed on Woody Drive in April, which brings us to the other part of how Operation Good is working with young people.
“Because as a teenager, I know how it was when I’m walking around during the summer, and I don’t have money in my pockets,” described Operation Good outreach project organizer and event coordinator Kametrica Finch. “And I see my friends, guess what, that’s gonna make these teens go and do something they don’t need to do. So we’re giving them other opportunities to make money, then guess what we’re keeping them out of trouble and out of jail.”
They’re up to around 25 young people working to revitalize the area, doing yard work, and meeting mentors.
“We want them to have someone to talk to, you know, it’s not always easy going to talk to your mom about something that’s going on among your peers,” added Finch.
Relationship building is at the heart of what they’re doing, and they’re finding it’s working. Community members see them patrolling their streets, hosting events, and responding to calls. Therefore, some are now more willing to open up about their concerns or what they’re hearing around the streets that could lead to violence being stopped.
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