In the wake of 12 youth homicides that have been reported to date in 2016, Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced today a multi-departmental effort to stem gun violence.

The effort, called Youth Empowered for Success (YES), is an initiative Stimpson says will target reversing “the effects of violence and securing a bright future for all of the city’s children.”

“Across America we are seeing a youthful generation engaging in unprecedented levels of violence,” Stimpson said. “Mobile will be the first mid-sized city to curtail this problem and make a promise and a commitment to its children that they will all be empowered for success.”

Stimpson said the initiative would not create a new city department, but instead would include leadership from many existing departments.

Various groups will be working together to achieve the common goal of increasing youth employment opportunities, improving city enrichment, adding recreational and athletic activities, and seeking outside resources to invest in the city’s existing youth programs.

Additionally, Stimpson said YES would serve as a springboard — encouraging corporations, nonprofits and all citizens to get more involved in the lives of Mobile’s youth.

“Other organizations have operated in silos. We want to tear down the walls of the silos,” Stimpson said. “If we are successful, we will lower, if not eliminate youth violence in the city of Mobile, while also empowering our youth to succeed in life.”

Mobile Police Department Assistant Chief Lawrence Batiste, who will lead the group, described the new city initiative as a “grassroots effort” that would help address concerns over economic situations and crime.