12OpCeaseOn Aug. 25, Operation Ceasefire is set to host a free movie night. Operation Ceasefire is a program with a clear and central goal: to reduce violent crime in Fayetteville and Cumberland County by reducing gun and gang violence. 

While this issue is immediately and viscerally important, it is also complicated. Operation Ceasefire employs a three-tiered strategy focused on intervention, suppression and prevention. Each tier focuses on a different aspect of the community so that everyone affected can be fully engaged in creating a solution.

The intervention tier is about being proactive and stopping violent crime before it happens. Operation Ceasefire identifies probationers with histories that suggest they could become involved with violent crime. Then they use tools like “call-ins” to help connect the probationers with resources and programs that offer training, counseling and treatment.

According to Operation Ceasefire, statistics show that without any help, most offenders will be imprisoned again within three years of their last conviction. Connecting ex-offenders with these resources helps both the individuals involved and the wider community. Having the support of these programs can help people make the difficult transition away from a life of drugs and violence, which makes for a safer city for everyone. For this to happen, for the program to be successful and for the cycle to be broken, the entire community needs to be involved. Operation Ceasefire calls specifically for businesses willing to hire ex-felons and organizations that can assist with daily needs and challenges.

The suppression tier involves teamwork. Operation Ceasefire and Violent Crimes Taskforce work together to identify repeat violent offenders to ensure that they face prosecution. While there are
many programs available to help people turn away from violence, it’s impossible to force people to take advantage of them. In these instances, the community still needs to be protected. The Taskforce focuses specifically on cases where firearms were recovered in Cumberland County. In a year, they have submitted over 50 cases to the United States Attorney’s Office for prosecution so that dangerous individuals can be removed from the area to serve their sentences in federal prison.

The third and final tier is prevention and outreach. Operation Ceasefire has a series of programs that are designed to engage the community, particularly the youth. It focuses on teaching gun safety and building positive relationships with law enforcement. Officers get involved with afterschool activities and work to educate the youth on gun safety and the consequences of gun violence. The aim is not to reduce the legal possession of firearms. The goal is to create a safe, well-prepared and informed community.

The outdoor movies shown on movie nights are entirely free. The next movie night is at Hope Mills Recreation Center at 5776 Rockfish Rd. The event will last from 7 to 10 p.m. All the movies in the series are family-friendly. The only goal here is to build a healthy community relationship between neighbors and local law enforcement. Participants are encouraged to make the viewing experience more comfortable by bringing chairs and blankets to enjoy the outdoor venue. Find out more at http://operationceasefire.com/.

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