Mayor Bowser Expands the District’s Gun Violence Prevention and Intervention Efforts
(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Gun Violence Prevention Director Linda K. Harllee Harper, and the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE) Del McFadden announced a series of actions the District is taking to expand violence prevention and intervention efforts, including expanding the work of the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement into three new communities – Congress Park in Ward 8, Shaw in Ward 2, and Edgewood in Ward 5.
“We are throwing every resource at the rise in violent crime,” said Mayor Bowser. “We’re expanding our efforts to reach people before they get involved in violence. We’re finding and reaching out to people who want a new path forward. We want people to know that we have resources and opportunities to support them, and these violence intervention teams are doing the critical work of getting that word out and connecting people to the many programs we have available that can help them change their lives.”
Fiscal Year 2022, Mayor Bowser invested $9.6 million in federal funds to expand and intensify violence intervention and prevention work at ONSE and $4.5 million in federal funds to expand the Pathways Program to serve 130 at-risk residents.
In addition to expanding into three new communities, ONSE is also creating a team of floating violence interrupters who will be able to respond to critical incidents and facilitate peacemaking efforts in areas of the city that are not currently designated as priority communities by the office. The office will also increase the number of violence interrupters serving existing priority communities. These expansions will ensure contracted ONSE violence interrupters are in 25 communities across seven of the District’s eight wards and will increase the number of staff and contractors dedicated to life-saving violence intervention work to over eighty individuals.
In February 2021, with the launch of the Building Blocks DC initiative, the District became the first jurisdiction to use an Emergency Operations Center model to coordinate violence reduction efforts between government agencies, non-profit partners, businesses and community-based organizations. Through Building Blocks DC, the District focuses on the people and the places most likely to experience gun violence using a collaborative, whole-community, public health approach. To identify the target blocks, the District analyzed 2020 crime data for violent offenses and found that 151 blocks in 49 communities accounted for 41% of all gunshot-related crimes.
Since February, the Gun Violence Prevention Emergency Operations Center has:
- Identified more than 67 Person-Based Service and Support resources from DC agencies that address employment, housing, substance use, mental health and family challenges
- Completed Environmental Assessments of 151 Blocks and 49 Communities.
- Offered 120 people employment opportunities through government and business partners.
Later this month, the Office of Gun Violence Prevention will make $1.1 million in grants available to community-based and nonprofit organizations that are working to reduce gun violence. The grants will require partnerships between entities or organizations working on gun violence reduction efforts. This grant cycle builds on the more than $750,000 in grants awarded earlier this year to more than 60 individuals and community-based organizations that are supporting residents and neighborhoods impacted by gun violence.