At the request of the OPD and Gang Unit, we did a Preemptive PrayerWalk when Central played at Benson Saturday (Feb 6th). As we stood in front of the gym and prayed in a circle, some of the people coming to the game stopped and joined our circle for awhile...among people that joined us was Bria Bell and her family.
Last summer the police and the gang unit asked us to pray at sites where they were anticipating violence and sending in a special violence suppression unit. They have seen how the power of prayer makes their efforts more effective. We have done six First Responder Preemptive PrayerWalks to date, and all have been followed by a night free of major violence and a quiet week at that location! PTL! Prevailing prayer is proving to be a significant force in partnership with OPD and other groups in helping to reduce violence in Omaha.
Right now there is a high level of tension and unrest among gangs, resulting in an increase in shootings and other violence. Basketball games between innercity High Schools and some unique "music concerts" have become igniters for violence, which is often gang related, and then spreads rapidly to other parts of the city .
An example of this is the "concerts" promoted by a group called “Hands On Production.” “Hands On Production” rents various places around the metro for their concerts, which they do not normally promote publicly, but rather have developed a more secretive communication network that includes many of the gang members. The police have had as little as one hour advance notice of a concert. The “Hands On Production” network usually brings out 200-600, and in this volatile environment violence frequently erupts between rival groups or gangs that often re-erupts later in different parts of the city.
This is what happened at a “Hands On Production” on July 4th at the El Dorado Club just north of 24th and Q where 18 yr old Max Griffy was shot and killed. Following our PW there, the police asked us to do our first “Preemptive PrayerWalk” at the next “Hands On Production” concert on July 16th at Kelley’s Hilltop Lanes where they felt there was a high probability of retaliation.
First Responders and Empower Omaha are committed to work more closely with OPD and the Gang Unit, especially with these types of potenial "Igniter Events," to help stop violence before it happens.
In addition to First Responders and Preemptive PrayerWalks, we are focusing on two other initiatives in 2010, Crisis Care Responders (CCR) and Adopt-A-Block which we will feature in future blogs.