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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Chicago-based Cure Violence is assessing Des Moines as a possible new site for its global program to reduce violence in major cities, Charlie Ransford, the group's senior director of science & policy, told Axios.

Why it matters: Des Moines homicides have increased in recent years — 21 in 2020 compared to 14 cases in 2019 — and the organization's approach has proven effective at reducing crimes like shootings.

The org approaches violence as a health epidemic that can be addressed using disease-control methods.

  • The program was developed more than two decades ago by Gary Slutkin, former head of the World Health Organization’s Intervention Development Unit.
  • It is currently implemented by local partners in at least 25 cities.
  • Urban Dreams is one group that may work as a Des Moines partner, the nonprofit group's leader Izaah Knox told Axios.

How it works: "Violence interrupters" — often local residents and former perpetrators — are hired to do much of the work, including:

  • Detect conflicts and diffuse tense situations to help prevent retaliations after shootings.
  • Identify people who are at highest risk and assist them.
  • Organize widespread community outreach to respond to every shooting.

What’s next: Cure Violence officials are completing an assessment of Des Moines, Ransford said, including a review of police data.

  • The City could decide whether or not to move forward at its meeting this morning at 7:30am. Join here if you want to weigh in.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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Go deeper

Lawmakers call for Israel-Hamas ceasefire amid aerial bombardments

Combination images of Republican Sen. Todd Young and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy. Photo: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images/Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and 28 Senate Democrats on Sunday called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as fighting continued into the night.

Driving the news: Young, a ranking member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, joined panel Chair Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in a bipartisan statement saying: "Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas' rocket attacks, in a manner proportionate with the threat its citizens are facing.

Bill Gates faces scrutiny over relationship with Microsoft employee, Epstein ties

Photo: Alessandro Di Ciommo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Representatives for Bill Gates pushed back on claims Sunday that he left Microsoft's board because of an earlier sexual relationship and against two other reports detailing more extensive ties with Jeffrey Epstein than had previously been reported.

Driving the news: Microsoft said in an emailed statement to Axios that it "received a concern" in 2019 that its co-founder "sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000," but denied a Wall Street Journal report that its board members thought Gates should resign over the matter.

AT&T in talks with Discovery to combine media assets

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AT&T is in talks with media giant Discovery about merging its media assets, like CNN, TBS and TNT, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: A potential merger could allow AT&T and Discovery to better compete with entertainment giants like Disney and Netflix in the video streaming wars.

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