The Macon Violence Prevention Program has sent a call-to-action for local Macon nonprofits and community efforts: send us an idea to reduce violent crime, and we will fund it.
“Macon-Bibb county is experiencing an unacceptable spike in crimes like murder, aggravated assault, especcialy during these past two years,” Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller said.
Miller gave a speech in June asking for the community to help. According to Miller, the sheriff cannot protect Macon-Bibb “by himself.”
“One person can’t do it, one mayor can’t do it, one commission can’t do it. Our team can,” Miller said. “You can’t sit back behind a monitor and a keyboard every time Macon-Bibb County has an incident and complain about what they should have done.”
Miller changed tack shortly after, presenting an invitation for collaboration to the community and a call for aid. The hope was to kick-start community engagement in stopping the rising violence in Macon-Bibb County.
During his speech, the sheriff’s department was responding to a fatal shooting less than three miles away.
“Of course it’s disheartening to hear that, especially during a time when we’re there to do something that takes action about it,” Miller said regarding the death in an interview with WGXA News. “It’s another life that’s gone. But we’ll get over it.”
Macon-Bibb County has held multiple forums all over the community, holding up to the mayor’s promise, and has been holding in-person forums as well as producing an online 13 question survey for people to pitch ideas. According to The Macon Telegraph, a typical suggestion is to involve youth early, but they never seem to show up at the forums.
“I do think we still need to be able to touch the youth,” a forum attendee said. “I hadn’t seen many youth at these forums, and when we’re talking a lot of things, a lot of ideas that come up are based in the youth, and so we need to get the youth to the table, and so that’s one of those things that I just hadn’t seen in these forums yet.”
The final forum will be held Aug. 19 at the Methodist Home for Children for city District 4.
Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Mallory Jones III will be hosting the forum. According to Macon Violence Prevention’s Facebook page, the event is expected to run for an hour and a half.
Henry Keating '24 is a Journalism and History student at Mercer. He has worked at The Cluster as SGA correspondent, State and Local News Editor, Managing Editor and now as the Editor-in-Chief. Henry has held internships at the Macon Newsroom, Macon Telegraph, and Greenville Post and Courier. He enjoys backpacking, rom-coms, pottery and photography.