Major Violence Reduction Grant Awarded To Richmond
On Friday, Dec. 17th, the City of Richmond was awarded a grant in the amount of $369,309 as part of the fourth round of grants under CalGRIP--the Governor’s initiative to address gang violence in a smart way at the local level. Cities are responsible for defining problems and solutions including prevention, intervention and enforcement strategies. Through these grants, the State will work with cities to implement proven evidence-based practices. Several grantees will implement the Safe Community Partnership model—known as “Project Ceasefire” that has been proven to save lives showing a 25 to over 60 percent reduction in homicides in cities around the nation such as Boston and Chicago. To implement these programs, cities are encouraged to partner with county agencies, educational agencies, and community-based organizations. Locally, this will involve a strong collaboration between the Richmond Police Department, the Office of Neighborhood Safety, several community agencies, and the District Attorney’s Office. Captain Anthony Williams will oversee this project for Richmond P.D.
Over the past 15 years, numerous cities across the country have successfully reduced relatively high rates of gang and youth gun violence through a strategy that brings together – and assigns specific roles to – criminal justice agencies, organizations that provide employment training and placement, social service agencies, community and faith leaders, and gang outreach programs. Boston (Operation Ceasefire), Chicago, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis achieved reductions in gun homicide of 25 to over 60 percent and, here in California, the Ceasefire model has already had success in several cities. This strategy, based upon extensive research and experience, has evolved from a primary focus on deterring serious gang and youth gun violence, to a comprehensive approach that combines deterrence with workforce training, employment, and other services.
What the Strategy Requires
This strategy requires that a city take the following steps – in partnering, planning, and implementation – to reduce its relatively high rate of gang and youth gun violence:
- Analyze the dynamics of local gun violence: A city will collect and analyze basic data on gun violence, including the geographic location of violent incidents, demographic information on individuals involved in gun violence, and patterns of gang violence. Richmond has already gathered much of this data and incorporates it into the Department’s ongoing COMPSTAT process. This data will be used by the working group (described below) to design its strategy.
- Organize a working group that will design and implement the local strategy: A city will organize a working group that includes representation from public and private employment training and placement providers, criminal justice agencies (including district attorney’s office, police department, sheriff’s department, and probation office), community leaders, gang outreach workers, and public and private social service agencies that serve youthful offenders, youth at risk of violence, and gang members. Drawing on the data analysis above, each working group will design and implement a local strategy that includes: a) directly communicating a violence prevention message to the gang members and youth most likely to commit gun violence, b) linking these gang members and youth to training and employment opportunities, and c) coordinating law enforcement efforts.
- Communicate directly with the gang members and youth most likely to commit gun violence: A city will communicate directly with these gang members and young people. This will be accomplished primarily at group meetings known as "call ins" or "forums," attended by representatives of the working group and the particular gang members and young people. At these meetings, the working group will set forth a two-part message: (a) gun violence must stop immediately or criminal justice agencies will intervene quickly and forcefully against those responsible; and (b) the group is there to support the gang members and youth with intensive services and employment.
- Build a strategic law enforcement partnership: An essential component of this approach calls for criminal justice agencies to focus their enforcement efforts on the relatively small group of gang members and young people who "drive" gun violence as determined by the problem analysis described above – particularly to the extent that these gang members and young people disregard the message to cease gun violence.
What the Selected Cities Will Receive
Each grantee will receive, through the partnership between the State of California and the private foundations, a CalGRIP grant to assist in implementing this strategy, and in-depth technical assistance.