A recently released report from Giffords Law Center, PICO National Network, and the Community Justice Reform: Investing in Intervention: The Critical role of State-Level Support in Breaking the Cycle of Urban Gun Violence highlights the impact of the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) and Shannon Community Safety Initiative, evidence-based violence prevention and intervention programs at work here in Massachusetts:
Excerpt from the report:
Massachusetts has demonstrated its commitment to addressing youth violence by providing funding and technical assistance to two statewide competitive grant programs: the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) and Shannon Community Safety Initiative (Shannon CSI).
Working in tandem, SSYI and Shannon CSI have stitched together a comprehensive network of violence prevention programs and social service providers that support at-risk Massachusetts youth from adolescence to adulthood. Because Shannon CSI targets a much younger population and focuses on long-term prevention, it is more difficult to assess its immediate impact, but program sites are consistently associated with a reduced number of arrests and assaults.
Evaluations of SSYI grantees, however, paint a clear picture. Between 2013 and 2016, Lowell, Massachusetts, saw overall firearm-related activity drop by 22%, gang-related criminal activity decline by 31%, and nonfatal shootings plummet by 61%. With the cost of gun violence estimated at just under half a million dollars per gun homicide, it’s easy to see how SSYI is producing meaningful savings for Massachusetts taxpayers. A 2014 report estimates that SSYI programs in Boston and Springfield saves the state at least $15 million per year.
SSYI is a multifaceted, community-based strategy that combines public health and public safety approaches to reduce violence among proven-risk, young men ages 17-24. It operates in 12 communities across the state disproportionately impacted by violence and serves thousands of people each year.
Commonwealth Corporation provides program management and technical assistance for SSYI on behalf of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.