States, Cities to Spend Millions on Gun Violence Prevention

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Illustration by Kostya Vacuum via Flickr

A growing number of states and cities are pledging to spend millions of dollars to fund gun violence prevention initiatives in minority areas most harmed by shootings, The Trace reports.

Last fall, the Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed legislation to fund gun violence reduction. In Illinois, crime survivors are pushing for more trauma recovery centers, which connect crime survivors with wraparound services.

In Virginia, lawmakers are using Victims of Crime Act funds to establish hospital-based programs around the state. Cities like Philadelphia, New York, and Minneapolis have created offices of violence prevention to oversee and coordinate local efforts to slow shootings.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom last month approved $30 million for the California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP), a statewide grant program that supports local organizations seeking to reduce violence through interventions like mentoring, educational activities, job training, and therapy for black youth who’ve experienced violence. A funding rise from $9 million marks the largest in the program’s history. Minority activists say the change is long overdue.

The nascent investment in violence prevention is new, but the methods are not. Ad-hoc street outreach aimed at curbing gang violence in cities began 60 years ago, and gained attention at the peak of the nation’s homicide epidemic in the 1990s.

Focusing on those most likely to commit shootings is a core aspect of the strategies gaining acceptance. Three main models are hospital-based violence intervention, Cure Violence, and focused deterrence; all are grounded in the finding that a small percentage of the population is responsible for most violence.

Criminologist David Kennedy of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, architect of focused deterrence, said that since its inception in 1996, it has been used in dozens of cities but funding is “almost always inadequate and temporary.”

Last fall, the RAND Corporation announced it will provide initial grants totaling $10 million to support new research into policies that can reduce injuries and deaths from firearms.

“We know shockingly little about the effects of gun laws,” Andrew Morral of RAND told a special session on Gun Violence in America at the annual conference of the American Society of Criminology.

Additional Reading: Why Tackling Urban Violence Should Be First on America’s Domestic Agenda


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