Herring requests funding for gun violence prevention programs

mark herring
Mark Herring

Attorney General Mark R. Herring is asking for funding to implement community-based gun violence prevention programs across the Commonwealth in communities that have been most impacted by gun violence.

Herring is proposing that $2.5 million from the American Rescue Plan be used for staff to implement each program and contractual work with law enforcement agencies and local community organizations to support officers who are assigned to these projects. Additionally, Herring is planning to host roundtables across the Commonwealth to hear from law enforcement, advocates, and community leaders about what their communities need to combat gun violence and violent crime.

Previous violence reduction efforts have shown significant results in Richmond and Norfolk. A multiyear gun violence reduction project in Norfolk saw a 19 percent reduction in violent crimes and a 25 percent reduction in homicides. Additionally, two phases of a similar campaign in Richmond contributed to a 50 percent decrease in homicides, and an average decrease of 30 percent in violent crimes in priority neighborhoods.

“Gun violence and violent crime continue to plague communities across the Commonwealth and these community-based programs have proven to reduce gun violence and other violent crimes in the communities where they are implemented,” Herring said. “Just one act of gun violence can cause a devastating ripple effect throughout a community, which is why programs that work to stop this cycle of violence before it starts are so crucial. As attorney general, it is my responsibility to keep Virginians, their families, and their communities safe, and that means tackling gun violence and violent crime head on through a comprehensive, effective approach.”

Through these community-based programs, Herring and his team will work with local law enforcement, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, and gun violence prevention advocates to reduce gun violence and other violent crime through a combination of outreach, prevention, intervention, and evidence-based practices.

These efforts will utilize the same approach modeled after an award-winning program that was a partnership between the Office of Attorney General and the City of Richmond, and a similar program implemented in Norfolk.

As part of these programs, the Office of Attorney General, partner law enforcement agencies, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, and gun violence prevention advocates will conduct an intensive outreach and violence prevention program led by dedicated staff, who will build on recent outreach programs to provide educational programs and development opportunities for at-risk children in priority areas over the next year.

These efforts will include education and prevention programs in conjunction with law enforcement, the local housing associations, tenant associations, faith-based organizations, non-profits, and more.

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