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Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon Delivers Remarks at Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative Media Briefing


Washington, DC
United States

Thank you to our Acting Associate Attorney General, Ben Mizer. And thanks to everyone for joining us today.

As you just heard, the Department of Justice has made unprecedented federal investments in community violence intervention, and the Office of Justice Programs is at the forefront of these efforts.

Our Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative (CVI) is supporting a total of 76 sites spanning 29 states and territories. These grants are reaching communities impacted by violence across the country, from Seattle to Miami, Alabama to Minnesota.

We’re advancing safety in our country’s largest cities – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago – and in rural communities and smaller metro areas, like Flint, Michigan, and Rapid City, South Dakota, where the needs are also great.

Many of these grants are going to community-based organizations (CBOs), others to city-led collaboratives, and four to states with multiple CVI locations.

We’re also supporting seven organizations to serve as intermediaries to smaller CBOs. These larger organizations provide both funding and hands-on technical assistance to help smaller, community rooted agencies access resources and build their capacity to grow and sustain their work in the long term.

We know that these CBOs have deep ties to the community and are often in the best position to deliver high-impact interventions. We hope that this new intermediary, or micro-grant, approach will help grow the bench and strengthen the CVI ecosystem.

We’re also providing tailored technical assistance to the field, and we’ve stood up a resource center that offers free training and technical assistance to any organization interested in exploring CVI interventions, whether they’re a grantee or not.

And finally, we’re supporting research and evaluation so that we can build the evidence base, tell the story and continue to learn what works best to reduce violence and save lives.

It’s important to know that we’re taking our cues from people in the field who’ve led this work for years, sometimes even decades or generations – leaders who have walked the walk, many of whom bring their own experiences with violence and trauma and have the insights and perspectives that are so necessary to designing effective strategies. These are the credible messengers on whom community violence intervention depends. They’re people like my colleague, Eddie Bocanegra, who you’ll hear from in a moment.

Eddie brings to the Department of Justice his many years of experience as a CVI professional. His program, READI Chicago, has been subjected to a rigorous scientific evaluation that found that young men referred to READI by outreach workers experienced 43% fewer firearm victimizations and 79% fewer in arrests for shootings and homicides. And the program is cost effective too. The evaluation showed at least four dollars of social benefits – and perhaps as many as 18 dollars – for every dollar invested.

These results are promising, but we still have work to do to scale our investments. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.

A grant announcement soliciting new CVI applications will be out in the coming weeks, and we’ll be making a new round of programmatic and research grants later this year. These new awards will build on the tremendous momentum we’ve gathered over the last two years, and they will help cement CVI programs as an indispensable part of the landscape of public safety in America.

I’m proud of the work we’re doing with leaders and partners in the field, and I am excited about what lies ahead.

I’ll now turn it over to my colleague, Eddie Bocanegra, a true leader and champion, to tell you more about our work, and to lead us into our distinguished panel of speakers.

Updated March 28, 2024