Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $750,000)
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.
Due to this increase, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office (LCSAO) 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 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.
It is the goal of the LCSAO in the first year of implementation of the GVPI to have community responses to 75% of non-domestic shootings, engage 75 high-risk individuals as program participants, 50 mediations, 1,000 lighter touch contacts with high-risk individuals. It will be the objective of the LCSAO to reduce the number of firearm related homicides by 25%, non-fatal shooting incidents by 25%, and shots fired by 25% in the targeted areas the GVPI will be focused on.
The GVPI will subaward funding to community-based organizations who will collaborate with law enforcement to identify and mitigate violence in “hot spots.” The $750,000 from the CPF grant will allow the GVPI and selected subaward agency, Waukegan Township, to hire a GVPI Director, a Program Manager, 5 Violence Interrupters, and 3 Case Managers. Waukegan Township was selected due to their ability to fiscally manage the program and provide salary and fringe to staff while awaiting reimbursement checks and because the LCSAO’s office would not be able to safely pay interrupters without them being assumed to be snitches.
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