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City of Toledo considers partnering with national gun violence reduction initiative

Cities United would work with Toledo on coordinating existing, local public safety groups in a renewed effort to reduce gun violence.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo City Council welcomed comments and questions from the public Thursday on a potential partnership with Cities United, a group that would work with the city on coordinating existing, local public safety groups in a renewed effort to reduce gun violence.

"We know what the definition of insanity is," one Toledo resident at the meeting said. "We can't keep doing the same thing."

Cities United has worked with dozens of cities across the U.S., including Columbus and Cleveland.

"We're trying to shift our conversation over what public safety really is and get cities to really invest in a holistic approach to public safety and gun violence prevention," Cities United executive director Anthony Smith said.

The team connects local groups and initiatives to work together. Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszikiewicz said the work leads to fewer shootings and the progress he's seen in other communities partnering with the group has been promising.

"Cities United is an organization that's been so successful in so many other cities, that we felt it made some sense to bring them to Toledo," Kapszukiewicz said.

Cities United also looks at a city's budget and suggests where cuts could be made, and where more funding could help programs reach the people most at risk.

"We have researched it," Kapszukiewicz said. "Literally, in all 130 of those cities, the police budget has increased. Whatever this is, it has nothing to do with that silly rhetoric you hear in Washington."

The city of Toledo has had five homicides so far in 2023, three of which have been teenagers.

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