Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,500,000)
Gun violence in the United States has taken a tragic and unprecedented turn in recent years, with murders rising nearly 40% since 2019, and violent crime including non-fatal shootings and assaults spiking faster than at any time in modern history (FBI, 2022). Tampa’s homicide rate is approximately 50% higher than state and national averages and double the city’s homicide rate in 2017 (FDLE, 2022). Notably, a large proportion of these crimes involve guns (FDLE, 2022). Tampa has experienced a 110% increase in non-fatal shootings from 2019 to 2020. Over the past year, Tampa has seen an influx of nationally known gang activity. In addition to the increase in gang violence, one third of all Violent Crimes with a firearm occur in the East Tampa Neighborhood. Most ongoing gun violence stems from loosely organized youth groups who associate and identify with one another based on the neighborhood and area in which they reside.
In response to the unprecedented violence, the City of Tampa aims to achieve the following: Objective 1. Development and implement a Violence Reduction Strategic Plan which engages and demands active participation from stakeholders across local government, community residents, community-based organizations, law enforcement, hospitals, and research partners. Objective 2. Conduct community-centered, data-driven, and equity focused activities that address cross-cutting issues which, if improved, can assist in preventing violent crime. Objective 3. Targeted violence intervention through a focused deterrence model to reduce firearm related crimes and gang violence by 5-10% over a three-year period.
The City of Tampa will be the lead implementer of the program and have numerous community partnerships. The City will provide peer mentors and dedicated personnel to ensure the Violence Reduction Strategic Plan is completed and implemented. Safe and Sound Hillsborough will be a key partner in providing services and case managers for violence prevention. The Tampa Police Department will support a focused deterrence approach to reducing violent crime. The University of South Florida will provide research and evaluation to measure the programs effectiveness. The City will also work alongside local community-based, anti-violence organizations such as Rise Up for Peace and the RICH house to provide victim support and advocacy as well as safe space and resources for youth. Funding will also support reducing the blight in disadvantaged neighborhoods through clean up days and beautification projects.