JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The city of Jacksonville’s anti-violence program Cure Violence is closing its Moncrief Road location.
The program started in 2019 and has three locations throughout the city, working in areas with some of the highest crime rates including the ‘Bridges to the Cure’ location on the Northside.
The teams include violence interrupters and outreach workers that are tasked with maintaining a presence in the communities they serve and working with community members on anti-violence initiatives.
Sources tell First Coast News that the ‘Bridges to the Cure' will be shutting it's doors.
Kim Varner was a program manager for Cure Violence on the Eastside when it started in 2019. He’s spent time walking the streets and has seen first hand the impact the program can have.
“We use to wear a shirt with a gun with the red circle with the line going through it and they see us approaching and the people in the streets was glad to see that. They would say man we’ve been waiting on something like this to happen," Varner said.
Cure Violence data from the city shows during the first 10 months of the program, street teams spent over 11,000 hours in areas where violent crime has occurred and the three sites mediated over 200 conflicts and conducted over 50 community responses to shootings.
Varner says the closure is disappointing. He feels having this anti-violence center in areas with the most crime has the biggest impact.
He has heard that the program may be moved to a new location in a different area on Jacksonville’s Northside.
“If they find the right location and the guys, they get a team that’s going to actually get out and walk the streets and talk to people I think it would be very helpful," Varner said.
We reached out to the city asking more about the closure and what’s next for the location. Officials say: “I can confirm that the program is NOT ending. As far as what the future holds, it is a bit premature to discuss at this point."