SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – As investigators pinpoint suspects behind Sunday’s mass shooting in downtown Sacramento, the city is doubling down on its efforts to keep the area safe.

An $8.1 million plan includes physical infrastructure such as adding more lighting and cameras, but also targeting the root of gun violence. The mayor recently said the city council approved an additional $5.1 million to help youth programs.

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In recent years, gun violence has been perpetuated by young people. City leaders and partners are trying to reach at-risk kids before they reach for a lifestyle on the streets.

Mervin Brookins has been working overtime since Sunday’s carnage.

“We go out and try to de-escalate so there’s no retaliation,” said Brookins, the founder and CEO of Brother 2 Brother Mentoring, a group working with at-risk youth and men from Del Paso Heights.

CBS13 is learning shooting victim Sergio Harris came from the neighborhood.

“We knew him well and knew his family well so we’re just trying to be of comfort to the family,” Brookins said.

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Community outreach is nothing new. So, the question is does gun violence prevention work?

“Yes, these groups do help some,” said Dr. Shelby Moffatt, a law enforcement expert who teaches at California State University Sacramento. “But you’re still going to have – again everything comes down to who is your influence?”

Worldviews are shaped by one’s immediate company. Aaron Cardoza knows this well.

“I didn’t go looking for trouble, but trouble came to me one day and I ended up shooting someone and going to prison,” he said.

Cardoza says five years ago, he decided he was done with the streets thanks to an opportunity by Brookins. The offer: save your community by mentoring.

“From that point on, it started changing me slowly but surely,” he said.

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Now, Cardoza is president of Brother 2 Brother Mentoring. Together, the duo is trying to take back their streets for good.

Shawnte Passmore