Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri Delivers Remarks at the Houston Violent Crime Initiative Press Conference
The Department of Justice announced today grant awards totaling $100 million to help communities across the U.S. reduce gun crime and other serious violence. The announcement was made during a visit by Department officials to Baltimore, Maryland, home to three community-based organizations receiving funding under the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative.
OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon announced the awards during a roundtable meeting with Baltimore youth hosted by Roca Inc., one of three organizations in the city receiving funding. The grants are jointly administered by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and Office for Victims of Crime. OJP’s National Institute of Justice will also support evaluations of projects funded under this initiative, contributing to the growing body of evidence regarding the effectiveness of violence intervention strategies.
“The grants announced today, which will go directly to supporting community violence intervention efforts, are an important part of our strategy to leverage the full force of the Department – including all 94 U.S. Attorney's offices, our law enforcement agencies, and grant-making components – to combat violent crime and keep communities safe,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.
The Black Mental Health Alliance for Education and Consultation Inc., and the Living Classrooms Foundation, Inc., also received grants. BJA Director Karhlton F. Moore and Baltimore Deputy Mayor Anthony Barksdale joined in the announcement, as did Kurt Palermo, Executive Vice President of Maryland Roca; Cheryl Riviere, Program Director of Living Classrooms Foundation; and Andrea Brown, Executive Director of Black Mental Health Alliance Education and Consultation Inc. Kunle Adeyemo, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services, also joined the event. The roundtable was facilitated by Eddie Bocanegra, a veteran of Chicago’s community violence intervention movement and now the Senior Advisor for Community Violence Intervention at OJP.
Based on a Bureau of Justice Statistics analysis of data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports, of the more than 21,500 murders known to law enforcement in 2020, more than half—56%—of the victims were between the ages of 15 and 34. Research has shown that social factors such as income inequality, the level of trust in institutions and a lack of economic opportunities are associated with firearm-related homicide rates. Evidence also shows that fear and the desire for physical safety, more than any criminal inclination, drive young people to carry and use firearms in the most violence-torn sections of our cities. Community violence interventions are grounded in research and have shown a promising track record of curbing gun traffic, reducing shootings, and saving lives.
The awards announced today, funded in part through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, mark a historic investment in community violence intervention programs from the Department of Justice.
“For too long, we have undervalued the wealth of resources available through community organizations and those with lived experience,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney Solomon. “We know there's a better way, one that builds on what we have learned about violence and its causes. If we hope to achieve sustainable reductions in violence, we must embrace our community assets as a central ingredient in violence reduction strategies.”
The resources made available under the Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative will develop and expand the infrastructure needed to build community safety and strengthen neighborhoods. They will support holistic, cross-agency collaborations, seed new efforts, and fund expansion plans in both community-based organizations and local government agencies, provide funding and assistance through intermediaries to build the capacity of smaller organizations, offer technical aid to jurisdictions that do not receive federal funding and invest in research and evaluation to better understand what works to reduce violence.
Awards are made to the following organizations and agencies:
Training and Technical Assistance Awards:
The awards announced above are being made as part of the regular end-of-fiscal year cycle. For more information about grants under the Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative, and for information about other OJP grant awards, please visit the OJP Grant Awards Page.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.