Whitney Peckman reminds us that there’s no need for competition when it comes to making Salisbury safer. 

Salisbury Police Department is understaffed in trained mediation and de-escalation officers. 

Locally, Nightcrawlers does outstanding work in high-crime neighborhoods, but they are small and dependent on volunteers, as is the Salisbury Police Department for Cease Fire.

Violence erupts from chronic frustrations birthed in poverty, fear, and negative behaviors, as well as from arrogance, racism, and addictions. For those affected, alternative choices are not easily seen. When violence occurs, people are understandably fearful. The shooting at the Christmas Classic affected more “neighborhoods” than just the one where the shooting occurred. After, at a community meeting at Gethsemane Church, Tim Bates, the trusted voice of Nightcrawlers, spoke truthfully of the need for people to commit to their communities where trust is lacking, where need exists, where love must persist.

Local police work is hampered by the power position and thus an inability to be accepted in neighborhoods experiencing a lot of crime. They are not trained in mental health protocols. Their job puts them de facto in opposition to fearful residents.

Now, we have an opportunity to bring Cure Violence, proven effective as near as Greensboro – to assess our community, develop teams of interrupters, and complement local grassroots and police efforts currently struggling to meet our needs. Cure Violence Global members are experts in assessing communities and training violence interrupters to stop violence before it reaches the need for police intercession. They are trained and paid – it is their job to forestall. They do follow-ups and outreach. All things the Salisbury Police Department are not equipped or paid to do. 

Curtailing violent crime is not a competition! It takes people, organizations, and programs; all working together to reach deeply into the actions, areas, and causes of violent crime. Let’s lean into collaboration, not competition. Let’s respond to Tim Bates’ call by bringing Cure Violence to Salisbury.

Whitney Peckman