Press Statement

Press Statement Public Safety Officials Convene to Discuss Statewide Strategies for Violence Prevention and Youth Engagement

Healey-Driscoll Administration’s FY24 Budget Invests $2 million in New Grant Program to Strengthen Public Safety and Enhance Community-Based Partnerships
  • Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
  • Office of Grants and Research

Media Contact for Public Safety Officials Convene to Discuss Statewide Strategies for Violence Prevention and Youth Engagement

Elaine Driscoll, Director of Communications and Policy

ccab roundtable

BostonYesterday, in a roundtable at the Catholic Charities Teen Center in Dorchester’s Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) convened District Attorneys, members of law enforcement, and community program leaders to discuss statewide strategies for effective violence prevention and impactful community-based partnerships. State officials also highlighted the Administration’s FY24 budget proposal to fund the ‘Safer Communities Initiative,’ a new grant program designed to support the development and implementation of collaborative solutions to reducing crime and engaging youth.

The Healey-Driscoll Administration allocated $2 million for the newly created grant opportunity focused on improving quality of life, bolstering youth programming, reducing street violence, and preventing illegal drug distribution across Massachusetts. The Safer Communities Initiative is a collaborative public safety model that brings together prosecutors, state and local law enforcement, and community stakeholders to identify emerging trends in a community and develop results-driven programs to advance prevention, intervention, diversion, and enforcement.

“Effective public safety depends on strong partnerships between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” said Governor Maura Healey. “Our Administration’s investment in the Safer Communities Initiative builds on the innovative collaborations proven successful in preventing violence, protecting communities, and supporting our youth’s ability to thrive.”

“The Safer Communities Initiative empowers community partners to deliver vital services that will support at-risk youth, improve outcomes, and promote public safety,” said Lieutenant Governor Kimberley Driscoll. “Our Administration’s first budget reflects our commitment to fostering state and local partnerships and investing in the meaningful programs that make a difference in our communities.”

“As a former prosecutor, I witnessed the devastating impacts of youth violence on victims, families, and communities. I am equally aware that the most effective response to the complex issues that drive gun violence is through collaboration, community engagement and evidence-based programs,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy. “The Safer Communities Initiative is an investment in the enduring success of strong partnerships and reinforces the importance of a coordinated approach to improving community safety and reaching at-risk youth.”

Managed by EOPSS’ Office of Grants and Research (OGR), the competitive grant opportunity will deliver needed funding to the Commonwealth’s District Attorneys (DAs), who will be required to distribute at least half of their award to collaborate with community partners on intervention and prevention initiatives and the balance to engage law enforcement in crime suppression. 

Modeled after several federal programs focused on neighborhood safety, EOPSS created the Safer Communities Initiative to ensure the continued success of its previous summer safety initiatives, which stakeholders discussed during the roundtable. In the last round of summer safety funding, from July through September 2022, EOPSS deployed federal Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds to support strategic prevention and enforcement initiatives. If funded, the Safer Communities Initiative will provide similar support throughout the year. 

As part of their 2022 summer outreach to at-risk and underserved youth, recipient DAs leveraged community partnerships to deliver impactful programming. Programming topics included building skills, accessing counseling, and developing positive relationships to address issues connected to substance use, trauma, guns, and human trafficking. Additionally, the funding supported focused enforcement conducted by State Police in partnership with local police, totaling nearly 300 arrests, more than 50 criminal summonses, the recovery of 71 illegally possessed firearms, and the seizure of nearly 41,365 grams of heroin and fentanyl, 2,895 grams of cocaine and crack, and 3,996 grams of marijuana, according to State Police data.

“I’ve seen firsthand the power of community-based public safety initiatives because as a young prosecutor I was assigned to one of the first ones in the nation, at Grove Hall in Dorchester.  Bringing together community groups, police, prosecutors, and other involved agencies creates a basis of trustful communication that leads to so many positive outcomes in crime reduction, diversion programs, re-entry initiatives and other vital efforts,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden.

“The prevalence of unlicensed firearms, shooting incidents, and firearm fatalities and injuries has highlighted the increasing need for strong partnerships to strategically address violent crime. To achieve success, we must all be focused on many fronts, prosecution and enforcement, but also prevention and data driven intervention practices,” said District Attorney Marian Ryan.

“It can be difficult to measure how effective prevention and education work is in decreasing crime,” said Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey, whose office utilized grant funds to address public safety concerns in the City of Randolph. “In this instance, Randolph Police saw the telltale indications of problems arriving for the summer and used this grant funding to take research-based steps to prevent that – and they saw the incidence of conflict go down instead of up. All involved deserve great credit for that.”

“Among the most successful programs that the Office of Grants and Research manages are those that partner police and community-based organizations. We see every day the important role these partnerships have in public safety and wellbeing. Greater investment in these evidence-based approaches will increase the capacity and positive impact of these programs across the Commonwealth,” said OGR Executive Director Kevin Stanton.

Media Contact for Public Safety Officials Convene to Discuss Statewide Strategies for Violence Prevention and Youth Engagement

  • Executive Office of Public Safety and Security 

    EOPSS is responsible for the policy development and budgetary oversight of its secretariat agencies, independent programs, and several boards which aid in crime prevention, homeland security preparedness, and ensuring the safety of residents and visitors in the Commonwealth.
  • Office of Grants and Research 

    The Office of Grants and Research (OGR) promotes public safety and security in Massachusetts communities through the management of grants funds and research programs focused on crime prevention and intervention, traffic safety, law enforcement and homeland security initiatives. OGR manages more than $150 million in state and federal grants that are distributed to state, municipal, education and nonprofit agencies across the Commonwealth.
  • Image credits:  Executive Office of Public Safety and Security

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