SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – In an effort to stop violence city-wide, Springfield city leaders have announced a new Collaborative Youth Outreach Initiative.

The initiative comes as a result of community roundtable meetings with stakeholders and partners, held to brainstorm solutions to growing crime. The Springfield Youth Collaboration involves the distribution of ‘universal city passes’ which will grant youth and their family members free access to community centers.

The 10 participating organizations offer a wide-range of activities and services to area youth. The initiative aims to increase the amount of young people utilizing them with hopes of preventing them from going down a criminal path.

Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood told 22News the police department welcomes the idea, “It has to start younger. We’re not going to get into the 20-something’s and change their ways, their habits are formed, their ideas are formed. But if we can get to them in grammar school, middle school and sometimes even high school and give them some alternative, meet some new ways of life. I did it for years, I mentored some kids… so this is a homerun for us.”

The police department intends to give its officers a number of these passes to distribute when out on calls.

City leaders told 22News a gun buy-back program is also on the table for consideration in October.

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