Three local criminal justice minds will tackle how to combat violence at an event at the John H. Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise at the University of Louisville’s College of Business on Wednesday.
Community activist Christopher 2X, criminal justice professor Deborah Keeling and public policy researcher and founder of the Pegasus Institute Josh Crawford will speak about local crime and justice issues at 4:30 p.m. at the PNC Horn Auditorium at Harry Frazier Hall.
The Pegasus Institute, a conservative group that studies criminal justice issues, released a report in December, “Voices of the Survivors: Louisville Metro Violent Crime Impact Report,” which examines the impact gun violence has on its survivors.
Crawford, the author of the report, said that the idea of looking at the lives of survivors of gun violence was suggested to him by Christopher 2X about a year ago.
2X said that “survivors are a population that was often overlooked and that they could speak to sort of all different angles, that survivors while they’ve often exclusively had a loved one murdered, they also often have loved ones who are offenders,” Crawford said. “In certain cases, they themselves have impulses to be offenders,” because of the perception of injustice in the courts.
Crawford said he initially thought the report would be a four-page brief, but once he got into it and talked to survivors and with Christopher 2X, he found it to be a much larger project. “Frankly, I’m glad it did because I think we got a much more clear picture of what those individuals deal with than we otherwise would’ve,” he said.
At Wednesday’s event, he said he plans to talk about what other cities have done to successfully curb gun violence and how we treat survivors and victims of nonfatal gun violence. (Last June, LMPD disputed the group’s research that claimed that 85 percent of murders in Louisville last year were gang related.)
Keeling, who will contribute to the conversation, said that pulling together people in the community is the best way to tackle violence in the community.
“I think that the key to reducing violence in Louisville is building partnerships,” she said. “Violence reduction is not just the responsibility of the police, the community needs to get involved, and it needs to be a united effort with different groups in the city, in conjunction with the police, and to keep in mind some of the systemic factors that contribute to violence and to the development of gangs.”
Conversations are a good way to make progress, she added.
“I think it’s important to pull together individuals to have community conversations about crimes in our city and what we can do to address them,” Keeling said. “I think conversations like this where we are in fact talking about different strategies, and not just laying the burden on the police, are very important. I think that’s the way you solve any crime problem.”
The event is free and open to the public. Pizza will be served.
This post has been updated.