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Mayor Walsh Launches Comprehensive Public Safety Plan

Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh, with the support of The Boston Foundation, announced the launch of a strategic and comprehensive city-wide public safety plan that builds upon the Boston Centers for Youth and Families’ (BCYF) Violence Interrupters program and the Boston Foundation’s innovative StreetSafe Boston Initiative. The Boston Foundation has pledged $3.1 million in funding for this effort over three years, which will allow for the integration of the StreetSafe program into a city-wide  expansion of on-the-ground outreach to youth at risk of violent crime, in coordination with the Boston Police Department (BPD) and the Mayor’s Public Safety Initiative. The formal announcement will be made during a Community Forum for Boston’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative created by President Obama, a program that seeks to promote positive outcomes for youth, especially Black and Latino boys and young men.

“Engaging with youth, and giving them the tools to succeed, has been shown to have a significant impact on their future outcomes,” said Mayor Walsh. “Expanding the number of Violence Interrupters in Boston’s communities through a coordinated effort will make our neighborhoods stronger and safer. I want to thank the Boston Foundation for this generous contribution that will make a difference in the lives of many Boston youth.”

“The Boston Foundation launched StreetSafe in 2009 as a five-year, innovative public-private partnership to bring resources and expertise to neighborhoods disproportionately affected by gang violence, “ said Paul Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation.  “The ability of philanthropy to provide fresh approaches to tackling chronic urban problems is at the very core of the Foundation’s mission, and I am so pleased that the StreetSafe model will be incorporated into a comprehensive public safety plan for the City of Boston, and I look forward to continuing our partnership with Mayor Walsh.”

Through this effort, the City will create an integrated strategy that applies to all neighborhoods, with a focus on the top 45 gangs. The Violence Interrupters program will target at-risk, proven-risk, and high-risk individuals ages 14 to 24, and will grow from five existing BCYF Violence Interrupters, to a fully-staffed program including 16 Violence Interrupters, two Senior Violence Interrupters, one case manager, and one outreach coordinator, and partnerships with programs that offer wraparound services such as job training and trauma support. Each of Boston’s 19 housing developments will have a Violence Interrupter assigned.

The Violence Interrupters will complement BCYF’s Streetworkers program, bringing a total of 48 individuals in Boston communities providing on the ground community support for at-risk youth.

In collaboration with BPD, BCYF, and the Mayor’s Public Safety Initiative, metrics and accountability will be fully integrated along with a report that will be provided annually to the Mayor. The report will explore metrics around positive education and workforce outcomes, and data about the number of youth who turn to Violence Interrupters for Support, and number of youth interventions and gang mediations conducted. BCYF will partner with relevant city agencies to measure use of the City’s assets, such as parks and playgrounds, and public transportation.

StreetSafe Boston, an initiative of The Boston Foundation, deploys a team of highly-trained Streetworkers to establish meaningful relationships with gang-involved youth to interrupt violence, mediate and resolve conflicts, and influence individuals to engage in pro-social programs and services. StreetSafe Boston focuses its efforts in Bowdoin/Geneva, Morton Street, Norfolk Street, the South End, and Upham’s Corner. The program is set to expire December 31, 2014.

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