Philadelphia, September 19, 2012 – Mayor Michael Nutter and Melodee Hanes, Acting Administrator for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Zane David Memeger announced the City of Philadelphia will receive two Department of Justice grants, the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention and the Community Based Violence Prevention Demonstration Program. Both grants target communities where the need is greatest – neighborhoods plagued by shooting and homicides, identified as “hotspots”.
“The Obama Administration, exemplified by Attorney General Eric Holder, Acting Administrator for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Melodee Hanes, and their team at the Department of Justice, recognize the importance of federal and local partnerships in helping to resolve persistent challenges that cities face,” said Mayor Nutter. “By awarding the City of Philadelphia these two grants, the Department of Justice is demonstrating its clear commitment to tackling the issue of youth violence in our Nation’s cities. These grants will help our city build the capacity and expertise to further decrease youth violence city-wide by creating systemic changes in prevention, intervention, enforcement and re-entry plans.”
National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention
Launched in 2010 at the direction of President Obama, the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention is a network of communities and federal agencies that share information and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence. Philadelphia will join three other cities, New Orleans, Minneapolis, and Camden, N.J., as new additions to the forum, to begin working collaboratively with the federal government and other cities to address persistent urban challenges.
The first six communities, who began participating in 2011, were Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas (CA), and San Jose (CA). The Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and Labor; the Corporation for National and Community Service and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy are the forum’s federal partners.
The ten cities will participate in a working session this fall and highlight their strategies to address youth violence at a national summit in Washington, D.C. next spring. The new cities were selected through a competitive application process.
Prerequisite to being invited to participate in the Forum, the City of Philadelphia demonstrated the ability to form its own local coalition dedicated to addressing the issue of youth violence. The City’s coalition includes, but is not limited to, the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP), PhillyRising, Juvenile and Adult Probation, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Mayor’s Office of Education, Police Athletic League, the Courts, the Office of the District Attorney, the Mayor’s Office of Community Services, the Mayor’s Office of Reintegration Services for Ex-Offenders(RISE), the Department of Human Services, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, the School District of Philadelphia, and non-profit partners. The collaboration will focus on targeted “hotspot” areas with a goal to decrease the overall rate of violence in Philadelphia.
Community-Based Violence Prevention Demonstration Program
The Community-Based Violence Prevention Demonstration Program grant provides $1.5 million, over three years, to cities to replicate successful models and programs to reduce violence in targeted communities. The three main goals of this program are to change community norms regarding violence, to provide alternatives to violence when gangs and individuals in the community are making risky behavior decisions, and to increase awareness of the perceived risks and costs of involvement in violence among high-risk youth.
The City of Philadelphia and its partners will use this grant to reduce shootings and homicides by partnering with Temple University to help expand the Philadelphia CeaseFire program within the 22nd Police District and bordering sections of the 39th Police District in North Philadelphia. Individuals between the ages of 14 and 25 who have been incarcerated, have a history of offenses, arrests, and involvement in high-risk street activity will be targeted, with 1,500 youth receiving support services from outreach workers and violence interrupters.
The goal of the Philadelphia program is to replicate the successes of the CeaseFire model, as it was carried out in Baltimore, Maryland. The program changed the culture of violence through prevention and intervention activities in five program areas: community mobilization; youth outreach; public education; leadership involvement; and law enforcement participation. The Philadelphia CeaseFire model is based on an evidence-based public health model that will include the required performance measurement data to monitor progress towards program goals, mainly decreasing homicides and shootings in the targeted area by 30 percent over the next three years.