SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Police have investigated 13 homicides so far this year. There were 15 homicides in all of last year. Mayor Dominic Sarno is working with community members to reduce violence and save lives.

Springfield’s Violence Prevention Task force is made up of community members who want to stop violent crime in the city.

The task force met at the Springfield Boys and girls club Thursday to talk with young people about leadership. While the main focus is stopping violence in the city another focus is changing what affects children in the city.

Teenagers and young adults were involved in many of this year’s shootings, that’s why the task force includes teens.

“It has changed my life in many ways. First off I became healthier and I value my relationships with my family and my friends the most” said Jason Feliciano, a Springfield Teenager.

This task force developed three priorities: Communicating with local neighborhoods to make them aware of resources in the community; creating effective practices; and empowering the youth of the community.

“It’s huge if there was more community involvement for our youth, giving them gym time, doing activities to keep the kids off the street would be huge in having less violence in the community” said Sheilen Feliciano, Jason’s Mother.

Thursday’s meeting was to raise community awareness of this program. The Springfield Violence Prevention Task works with the city’s boys and girls club, several teens today shared their stories of success.

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