Louisville has recorded 205 gunshot injuries this year as of Aug. 1, a 41 percent increase compared to this time a year ago; There have also been 50 homicides in the city this year, up 61 percent from last year, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. Some 31 youth ambassadors recruited by Louisville’s Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods department are advising Mayor Greg Fischer's office on the best ways to curtail violent crime among youths. “When you're talking about impacting young people you got to have young people at the table, and I think you have got to have a diverse group who can connect to all of their friends and their peers,” said Anthony Smith, the city's safe neighborhoods director.
The teenagers and young adults from across the city will serve one-year terms with the department. The youth ambassadors will meet monthly with metro, state and federal officials to discuss their ideas. The group has already held an audience with the city's health director, Urban League leaders and U.S. Attorney John Kuhn Jr. Team members will help the city craft an action plan as part of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention set to be released this fall. Louisville is one of 15 cities selected by the U.S. Department of Justice to participate in the program, which is aimed at reducing homicides, shootings and assaults among youths under age 24.