Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $409,699)
With renewed funding for PSN in 2021, the NDCA will direct funding to San Francisco to enhance ongoing efforts for violence reduction in the form of the newly-created SF Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI Initiative) a collaborative violence reduction project developed by the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), the California Partnership for Safe Communities (CPSC), National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR), the University of Pennsylvania and the Street Violence Intervention Program (SVIP).
The VRI Initiative will identify individuals who are most at risk of either engaging in gun violence or falling victim to gun violence. SFPD and community partners will reach out directly to these individuals to directly and respectfully share information on their risk; on the potential consequences of being involved in violence; the community’s desire for a different future for them and to connect them immediately to special help and support resources.
SVIP will provide intense mentorship to the individuals identified as high risk for at least a year, connections to needed services and resources, and a path forward that does not involve violence. SVIP will draw on their own extensive expertise, as well as adapt a successful life-coaching model and trauma informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) groups successfully used in other California cities with support from NICJR.
This strategy draws explicitly from the Oakland Ceasefire strategy, the Boston Reentry Initiative, and the Chicago Project Safe Neighborhoods, all of which have been rigorously evaluated and found to be successful at significantly reducing severe violence and reducing the re-arrest rate among participants. Over the next two years, the University of Pennsylvania will conduct a rigorous evaluation of the VRI Initiative.
Recent findings of an in-depth analysis of gun violence in San Francisco from 2017-2020 by the CPSC found that:
85% of those impacted by gun violence are Black and Latino men, even though they comprise less than 10% of the City’s total population.
29% of all violent firearm crimes in 2019 took place in San Francisco’s Bayview, Potrero Hill, and Visitacion Valley neighborhoods, with a quarter of all the City’s homicides for the past five years occurring there.
Those at the highest risk of gun violence in SF are primarily Black and Latino men, ages 18-35, with extensive justice-system involvement and social connections to groups and gangs.
This is the population that the VRI Initiative seeks to engage and support.