When victims of stabbings and shootings from high-crime ZIP codes in Louisville, Ky., arrive at local hospitals, a social worker usually shows up shortly afterward.
"We don't have a hard time finding kids who aren't in trouble. We have a hard time finding kids who are in trouble — so we go right to the hospital," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Monday during his keynote address at the Mayor's Luncheon at the Knoxville Convention Center.
The social worker helps to prevent retribution crimes and provides options to help victims escape their situation. It's part of a program called Pivot to Peace, which aims to reduce the number of homicides through intervention.
Homicide rates "unfortunately seem to be a problem that seems to be increasing in every American city," Fischer said.
After the high-profile murders of two boys in the last six months in gang-related drive-by shootings, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said she wants to learn more about what Louisville is doing.
"That's something we're going to follow up on and get more information on," Rogero said after the luncheon. "Figuring out how and when to reach people is critical, it's part of the intervention."
The Kentucky city has also had success with programs that offer opportunities to its young people. Code Louisville is a free program that matches mentors to those interested in coding software to help them learn.
The tech training program received accolades from President Barack Obama and spawned a website design company founded by seven teens from one of the city's roughest public housing complexes.
Meanwhile, the initiative is helping the city address its need for more programmers, Fischer said.
The city has joined with nearby Lexington, a former rival, to begin marketing the region to businesses. They've had success creating a 70-mile corridor of 2.5 million residents and industries that include advanced manufacturing, automotive, appliances, translation software and, of course, bourbon.
Rogero said she sees similarities between that partnership and the one being cultivated in East Tennessee. Knoxville and Oak Ridge have teamed up to form Innovation Valley, a development partnership managed by the Knoxville Chamber.
"Seeing yourself as a region and recognizing everybody wants every new business and every new job in their own political boundary, but we know that if it's in our region, we're all going to benefit," Rogero said.About Megan Boehnke
Megan Boehnke covers Knoxville city government for the News Sentinel.