State funding supports violence reduction efforts

Monday, September 10, 2018

Mercyhurst University joins Unified Erie and the Unified ErieErie School District as a research partner in expanding local gun violence reduction strategies, thanks to a $148,000 state grant announced today.

The funding was awarded through a competitive solicitation as part of a Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency program to provide municipalities with funds to implement strategies resulting in the reduction of gun violence in communities. In all, more than $1.5 million was awarded across eight municipalities.

“This funding to help municipalities address their specific needs to reduce gun violence is an important to step to protect Pennsylvanians and make our communities the safest they can be,” according to a statement by Governor Tom Wolf. “I am pleased the commonwealth was able to make funding available to help avert gun violence in these municipalities and hope that these efforts can be expanded to more communities.”

Erie City received $148,141 to work in partnership with Unified Erie and the City of Erie School District to implement evidence-based programs like Operation Ceasefire, in line with the Group Violence Reduction Strategy and the Chronic Violent Offender Strategy. The Mercyhurst Civic Institute is being funded as a research partner.

Program initiatives include developing an assessment to integrate school data to identify youth with risk indicators for school violence; data collection and analysis of key gun violence indicators; the addition of a community coordinator to work with the school district; and cooperation between the law enforcement community and multi-disciplinary teams to plan and implement intervention meetings with individuals identified through the risk assessment and data collection efforts.