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Hamilton's violent criminals to get chance to turn life around

HAMILTON, Ohio (Larry Davis) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Thursday, July 10, that he was expanding the Safe Neighborhoods Initiative to the city of Hamilton.

The program will be an effort to assist communities in addressing violence caused by repeat violent offenders. Approximately 40 individuals in Hamilton have been identified as being behind the bulk of the violent crime. And while much of that violence was between small groups targeting each other, there was a concern that innocent victims would get caught in the crossfire.

The program will try and rehabilitate those responsible for most of Hamilton's crime.  As part of the program, these people will attend a meeting as part of their probation or parole. They will meet with law enforcement, religious leaders, medical professionals and victims of gun violence. They'll be given the chance to take part in job training and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

The Hamilton chief of police said the community must get involved to stop the violence. That will be one of the goals of the Safe Neighborhood Initiative. The centerpiece will be the process of calling in repeat offenders and giving them a chance to stop their ways.

Mike DeWine said it was easy to gauge the program's success by looking at whether repeat offenders end up back in jail.

Five other mid-sized cities like Hamilton have the program. The Attorney General said in those cities not one of the repeat violent offenders that were targeted have re-offended.  A similar effort in Cincinnati led to a 41 percent drop in gang homicides and a 22 percent decrease in other violent gun incidents.

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