On March 17th, legislators, mayors, community advocates, law enforcement officials, and youth program participants from across the state gathered in Nurses Hall of the Massachusetts State House for the ninth annual Community Safety Day on the Hill. Together, they urged legislators to provide full funding for the Senator Charles E. Shannon, Jr. Community Safety Initiative (Shannon Grant) and the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI).
Combating Youth and Gang Violence
Since its foundation in 2006, the Shannon Grant has invested in almost 40 Massachusetts communities with the highest rates of youth violence and the most gang activity. MAPC, in coordination with the Metro Mayors Coalition, manages a regional grant for 8 communities: Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, and Winthrop. The Metro Mayors Coalition was deeply involved in the inception of the program nine years ago.
The Shannon Grant uses a multi-sector approach to youth and gang violence. It invests in social intervention, suppression, and opportunity provision programs as well as facilitating organizational change within agencies and community mobilization.
In 2014, with the grant funded at $7 million, nearly 20,000 youth were served across nearly 300 programs, and more than 2,500 hot spot patrols were enabled.
Over the past 5 years, youth and young adult homicide offenders have declined by 74% and aggravated assault offenders have declined by 30% in Shannon communities. The declines have been even steeper in communities receiving both Shannon and SSYI grants. Clearly, adequate funding for both these programs is critical in continuing to combat youth and gang violence.
If you have any questions, or want to learn more about Shannon, SSYI, or Community Safety Day, please reach out to Charlie Ticotsky, Government Affairs Specialist, at email@example.com.