City of Oakland receives $6 million grant to deter gun violence
Following a surge of homicides in 2021, the City of Oakland has received a $6 million state grant designed to curb gun violence. The funding, announced at a press conference on Tuesday, is provided for three years through the California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) program.
Guillermo Cespedes, head of Oakland’s Department of Violence Prevention, said the grant will pay for programming that works with families who have been most impacted by gun violence, including people at greater risk of being shot or of shooting someone. He added that street outreach, along with cognitive and behavioral therapy, are some of the strategies the program seeks to employ. The grant will also fund the redesign of public spaces where gun violence is most likely to occur, including the addition of more street lights.
In previous years, funding from the program has been tied to a reduction in gun violence. According to Oakland's Department of Violence Prevention, California cities that received grants in the 2018 cycle experienced three times fewer gun violence deaths than cities that did not.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Cespedes claimed that this grant was the first he knew of in which the emphasis was on working with individuals at the highest level of risk and their families. He said his department is committed to “transforming mindsets and building communities free of violence.”