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Dallas-based violence interrupters focus on strategies to combat issues in crime hotspots

OGU Violence Interrupters are a specially trained group. They're mission is working with neighbors on proactive pathways to peace.

DALLAS — As violence across the City of Dallas continues climbing, some neighbors call the statistics stinging. 

"I mean, it's absolutely scary," said Keio Gamble, senior project manager with OGU Neighborhood Plan. 

"I get frustrated,” Tabitha Wheeler said. “I get angry.” 

There have been more than 200 killings across the city this year. Aggravated assaults are also up by 26%. 

"Looking at the numbers, they've surpassed the numbers from last year,” said Gamble.

That is why Gamble, Wheeler and others community organizers are among a team doing its part, tackling the city’s challenges with crime.  

They are part of the OGU Violence Interrupters initiative. The group is specially trained to saturate some of the city high-crime areas, in hopes of helping communities on a pathway to peace.

"We intrude, so we can get closer to them. We invade their personal space, so that they know they can trust us. And then we try to find programs, ideas and concepts to institute, so that we can mitigate the damages from the senseless violence," said Gamble.

The proactive mission is even greater now, during a week that’s included a 4-year-old girl shot and injured, a 7-Eleven clerk killed and a popular Dallas rapper chased down and shot to death on the middle of the interstate. 

RELATED: Investigation underway after rapper MO3 fatally shot on Dallas highway, police say

OGU is sponsoring a "Community Conversation and Unity Walk" on Saturday, Nov. 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The unity walk and caravan will begin at Lincoln High School and end at Opportunity Park in South Dallas. 

The OGU Violence Interrupters include teachers, entrepreneurs, community organizers and others. They know they can’t tackle crime across the city alone.

"There are people that actually want to help, but they don't know which way to turn," said Wheeler. 

The group is urging others to help with boots on the ground.

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