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Cure Violence ‘No Shoot Zones’ Campaign Generates Controversy In Jacksonville

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Jimmy Midyette via Twitter
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This No Shoot Zones card is part of Jacksonville's Cure Violence campaign.

Jacksonville’s Cure Violence initiative was touted as a tool to lower shootings and violence when the city funded it this year. This week, it’s been raising some eyebrows on social media for a campaign calling for "No Shoot Zones." 

In a post widely circulated on Twitter and Facebook,  many questioned whether the No Shoot Zones cards are fake. But Mayor Lenny Curry’s office has confirmed to WJCT News that they are indeed a part of the Cure Violence program.

City Director of Public Affairs Nikki Kimbleton told WJCT News the cards were designed internally by people living in the communities that Cure Violence is targeting, peer to peer, using some of the real language that is used in the communities.

Kimbleton said the city is evaluating whether to continue using the cards, which say "No Shoot Zones" include “Baby Mother’s House” and “Big mama’s house.”

Some social media commenters defended the card, while others criticized it. Here's a sampling of the comments:

“So far this year, Cure Violence has had a positive impact on our target areas,”  Mayor Curry said Wednesday.

The program, which originated in Chicago, is targeting areas of Jacksonville’s Northwest and Eastside, which are home to six of the most violent ZIP codes in Duval County.

“It’s guided by the understanding that violence is a health issue, that the epidemic of violence is preventable,” Curry said in May.

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The mayor said trusted insiders in the communities were being hired and very carefully selected, "who will be able to anticipate where violence may occur so they can intervene before it happens."
City Council allocated $764,823 to fund the first year of the Cure Violence program.

It’s one in a series of inititiatives the city has recently implemented to try to curb violent crime. The mayor, Sheriff Mike Williams and State Attorney Melissa Nelson on Wednesday gave an update on those efforts

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Heather Schatz can be reached at hschatz@wjct.org, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @heatherschatz.