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City establishes Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, hires director
SAVANNAH (Jan. 12) – The City of Savannah has established the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE), dedicated to implementing crime reduction strategies and increasing neighborhood safety through a collaborative community approach, and is pleased to announce John M. Bush, Jr. as the first neighborhood safety and engagement director.
Bush brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in community engagement to the role and will provide leadership and daily management of the department, assist with developing and implementing communitywide crime reduction goals, and work directly with law enforcement, concerned citizens and partner organizations to identify and connect individuals in need to support services.
Bush will begin his role with the City of Savannah on Tuesday, Jan. 18.
The Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement will focus on:
- Identifying and engaging individuals at the highest risk of participating in or being a victim of violent crime,
- Connecting them to comprehensive support services, and
- Providing an "off-ramp" for individuals to pursue positive growth and development opportunities.
Once fully staffed, the ONSE team will work with the community to develop and sustain a citywide network of violence prevention and intervention services and track the community's progress toward reducing crime and increasing neighborhood safety.
The Savannah City Council approved $1 million in 2022 funding to support the city's neighborhood safety and engagement initiative. These funds will provide community grants to organizations to support credible messengers, violence interrupters, conflict management, out-of-school activities, youth sports, counseling and mentoring activities that engage the most vulnerable youth in alternatives to violence and crime. More information about the ONSE Community Grants program will be available this spring.