MILWAUKEE -- When it comes to preventing future violence in the city, some help has come to Milwaukee.
Those with the Chicago-based group "Cure Violence" on Thursday, June 30th were here to provide some training. Given the violence in Chicago, officials said they know many will be skeptical.
"Violence is a preventable disease," said Reggie Moore, director of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention.
As Milwaukee seeks a cure for its seemingly increasing violence, the city has enlisted the help of some to our south.
"We feel we can learn from groups from outside the city of Milwaukee. It doesn't mean we're going to have them come in and run the effort or adopt all of their practices," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
"Cure Violence" aims to interrupt violence by building trust and gaining knowledge of when something might be brewing, and then stepping in.
In Milwaukee, the group will help with the Franklin Heights and Garden Homes neighborhoods -- where young people like Tyvon Williams hope to live in peace.
"I just want to go to school and do what I gotta do. Get up out the streets," said Williams.
Officials know the public will question what makes someone in Chicago an authority on reducing violence.
"They're working in several neighborhoods in Chicago and in those neighborhoods, they've continued to see a decrease in comparison to data across the rest of the city," said Moore.
A 2009 national study did show a decline in shootings in "Ceasefire" Chicago neighborhoods.
FOX6 News has asked the group to provide recent data from the Chicago neighborhoods where the group is currently working amid the sharp increase in gun violence in the Midwest's largest city. The organization has had its had its funding cut in recent years by both Chicago and the state of Illinois. It is currently housed at the University of Illinois - Chicago.
A city spokesman says Milwaukee is not paying Cure Violence at this time.
The group's efforts revolve around a three-step approach: 1. detect high-risk people, situations, 2. Reaching and treating those at risk, 3. Changing behavioral norms.
It's a controversial method; these "interrupters" could be ex-convicts, and sometimes those on the street do not share information with police.
Moore says something similar could be in the works for Milwaukee.
"It could include anyone that’s willing to – both folks that may have a background, those that may not," he said, "But our commitment is to make sure we have folks on the ground that are committed to this work."
"We’re gonna have a lot of oversight no matter what we do," Barrett added.
The group says it's a sensitive balance as "interrupters" must first earn trust from those at risk.
"We're not like investigators. We're dealing with people where they're at. We're not trying to hear all of the history. We want to deal with the situation," said "Cure Violence" Chief Program Director Brent Decker.
Representatives from "Cure Violence" will be training community workers in Milwaukee all day on Friday, July 1.
The group says those instances are rare -- but it is constantly reviewing its screening process to prevent future problems.
"Really doing a systematic review of each case that’s actually happened so we can ensure that our management system, which we’ve updated every year, has the strongest thinking about how we prevent these events from happening," Decker said.