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Worcester awarded over $1 million to curb gang violence

Telegram & Gazette - 1/25/2021

WORCESTER — More than $1 million in grant money was awarded to the city from the Shannon Community Safety Initiative Monday to reduce gang and youth violence in Worcester.

The city also received nearly $60,000 from the Violence Against Women Act grant program.

The city was awarded about $1.15 million from the Shannon grant program, according to a press release. The program supports community initiatives across the state to reduce gang violence and promote positive youth development.

Initiatives include youth recreational and employment programs, street outreach and intervention, community mobilization and law enforcement support.

The funding will build on initiatives that Worcester had already launched with the support of the Shannon Community Safety Initiative.

The city has served over 2,400 youths with through the initiatives and city law enforcement has arrested over 20 alleged "high-impact players" in gang violence, the release said.

"These funds allow us to work with community partners to provide opportunities to our youth while simultaneously providing positive police-youth interactions through our programs," Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent, said. "Now more than ever, it is important for us to connect with our youth to build bridges and strength relationships which is accomplished through our mentoring programs that have proven to be successful.”

"The funds used by the police department for prevention, education, counseling, workforce readiness, violence prevention and engagement opportunities have coincided with a reduction in crime trends and arrests, in some cases by over 50% over the past five years," Worcester City Councilor Kate Toomey said. "By working with our community partner agencies, the Worcester Police Department continues to provide support to our most at-risk youth, providing support to deter them from violence and crime and direct them toward positivity, success and a bright future."

The Violence Against Women Act grant program awarded the city nearly $60,000 to support and protect survivors of abuse and to punish offenders.

The state's Executive Office of Public Safety and Security is administering funding from the programs.

This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Worcester awarded over $1 million to curb gang violence


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