The U.S. Department of Justice issued grants totaling $100 million to help communities reduce gun crime and other serious violence. The announcement was made during a visit by DOJ officials to Baltimore, home to three community-based organizations receiving funding under the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative. OJP's Amy Solomon announced the awards during a roundtable meeting with Baltimore youth hosted by Roca Inc., one of three organizations receiving funding. Attorney General Merrick Garland says the DOJ strategy is "to leverage the full force of the department – including all 94 U.S. Attorney's offices, our law enforcement agencies, and grant-making components – to combat violent crime and keep communities safe.
The Black Mental Health Alliance for Education and Consultation Inc., and the Living Classrooms Foundation, Inc., in Baltimore also received grants. Based on a Bureau of Justice Statistics analysis of data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports, of the more than 21,500 murders in 2020, 56 percent of the victims were between the ages of 15 and 34. Social factors such as income inequality, the level of trust in institutions and a lack of economic opportunities are associated with firearm-related homicide rates. DOJ said evidence shows that fear and the desire for physical safety, more than a criminal inclination, drive young people to carry and use firearms in the most violence-torn areas. Community violence interventions have shown a promising track record of curbing gun traffic, reducing shootings, and saving lives, DOJ said.