Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,500,000)
Firearm related homicides, non-fatal shooting incidents, and shots fired incidents are on the rise in Lake County and have been for several years. Lake County saw four gun related homicides in 2019 which then increased to 14 in 2020 and hit a record high in recent memory of 21 last year. Over 80% of these firearm related homicides occurred in the three most historically underserved cities in Lake County.
Considering this increase in gun violence, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office has committed serious resources to prevention and engagement. The Lake County Gun Violence Prevention Initiative (“GVPI”) will serve all communities in Lake County, Illinois; with an initial focus on Waukegan, North Chicago, and Zion, and will galvanize a multi-prong approach to saving lives.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office has secured an initial $560,000 in funding from the Lake County Board using American Rescue Plan Act funding as well as an additional $500,000 award through the State of Illinois Budget Allocation for this project. The funding from these initial sources will go toward the first-year implementation of this GVPI and will start to be expended this summer. The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office is applying for $1.5 million in funding through the FY 2022 Office of Justice Programs Community Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative under Category 2 in order to enhance and ensure short-term sustainability for the project beyond the one-year funding already secured.
The GVPI will take a public health approach to violence prevention and will utilize an adaptation of the Cure Violence Model (CVM). The philosophy of CVM maintains that violence is a learned behavior that can be prevented using disease control methods. The program will work primarily with high-risk youth aged 14 to 25. It will include regular individual interactions, conflict mediation, and community mobilization. Using proven public health techniques, the model strives to prevent violence through a three-prong approach: 1) Identification & Detection. 2) Interruption, Intervention, & Risk Reduction. 3) Change Behaviors & Norms.
The GVPI will directly oversee street-outreach efforts aimed at violence interruption by distributing micro-grants to community-based organizations (CBOs) who will collaborate with law enforcement to identify and mitigate violence in “hot spots.” Funding will primarily pay for staffing of program managers, violence interrupter supervisors, violence interrupters, technical and training assistance, data analysis. Equipment, printing of materials, participant support services/activities, and community events will also be provided through funding.