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Community-Based Violence Intervention (CVI) Programs Are Designed To Stop The Violence From Ever Occurring In The First Place By Supporting Those At Greatest Risk Of Gun Violence

Schumer: Epidemic of Gun Violence In Syracuse Must Be Confronted Head-On With Federal Investment In CVI Programs

Standing at the Southwest Community Center with officials, law enforcement, community violence interrupters, and advocates, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today launched his latest push to combat crime and the recent wave of gun violence in Syracuse. Schumer revealed that the Department of Justice just last week launched the new Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Initiative, a first of its kind grant program, funded through the FY22 Appropriations Bill, aimed at combating gun violence at its root by increasing community trust, identifying those at the highest risk of being affected by gun violence and working to reduce violence through evidence based intervention. Schumer said these programs have already had tremendous success in Syracuse and across New York, directly helping to reduce violence and save lives, and that he is quadrupling down on his support calling for the administration’s request for $250 million for the program as a down payment to be fully funded to help reduce crime and keep Syracuse communities safe.

“Syracuse residents know far too well how gun violence continues to impact our communities,” said Senator Schumer. “This is a crisis that we can and must solve, and one of the best ways to reduce violence is by increasing the resources available to local organizers, getting youth in underserved communities off the streets, and providing individuals the support necessary to get on the right track. Community-based Violence Intervention programs have been extremely effective in Syracuse, and that’s why I’m fighting to bolster this funding so these lifesaving programs can be strengthened and expanded like never before.”

Schumer explained that CVI programs use evidence-informed strategies to reduce violence through tailored, community-centered initiatives. These programs engage individuals and groups to prevent and disrupt cycles of violence and retaliation and establish relationships between individuals and community assets to deliver services that save lives, address trauma, provide opportunity, and improve the physical, social, and economic conditions that drive violence. The DOJ’s Community Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative grant program began for the first time this year funded at $50 million, and was just posted last week for community groups and local governments to begin to apply. However, Schumer said that while this is strong first step, that the recent wave of gun violence felt across Syracuse, the state and nation warrants even more to bolster these programs, which is why he is quadrupling down and calling for the program to receive at least $250 million going forward.

Schumer said the SNUG (“Should Never Use Guns”) program, which has been administered in Syracuse by Syracuse Community Connections (SCC) since 2010, uses conflict mediation and crisis intervention to prevent gun violence is a prime example of how CVI programs work. Through the use of street outreach workers and violence interrupters from the community, who themselves have experienced violence and also have strong relationships with young adults, community leaders, and service providers, work to stop conflicts before they happen and re-direct the highest-risk youth away from life on the streets.

Schumer said that a lack of resources in a community can increase the risk for violence to occur, so strategies that bolster community resources and improve community conditions must be used to support CVI strategies. This is why the senator made sure that the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) had $123 million for the City of Syracuse in local aid. In fact, Syracuse is using ARPA funding to support at-risk youth through skills training, summer jobs, college preparation, mental health support and violence prevention. Additionally Syracuse has deployed ARPA funding to directly combat gun violence by reactivating the city’s Shotspotter technology after it was canceled due to pandemic-related budget cuts. The technology helps police locate and track gunfire in the city.

This effort to further fund CVI programs comes on the heels of Senator Schumer’s successful push for the federal government’s regulation of “ghost guns and the Senator’s commitment to getting these dangerous, often untraceable, firearms off the streets. Just last week, The Department of Justice announced their submission of the “Frame or Receiver” Final Rule to The Federal Register, expanding the firearm definition by subjecting parts’ kits to the same regulations as fully assembled guns. Earlier this year, Senator Schumer fought to secure $1.5 billion dollars in funding to The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. This increase will be critical to tackling gun trafficking and The Iron Pipeline—issues that prominently affect the state of New York.