McGovern Announces $327K for Worcester Police to Support Public Safety and Anti-Gang Program

Today Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) announced that the City of Worcester will receive $327,312 from the U.S. Department of Justice to support the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) Project East, part of Worcester’s anti-gang and community policing efforts. The funding is through the FY 16 Comprehensive Anti-Gang Strategies and Programs.

“Keeping our community safe starts with strong investments in our local police. This new funding will help to support the incredible work that Chief Sargent and the Worcester Police Department are doing every day to keep us safe,” Congressman McGovern said. “With this grant, Worcester Police will be able to continue their work to reduce gang violence and prevent gang initiation among high-risk youth in Worcester’s Eastside neighborhoods. I am grateful to the Justice Department for providing this essential support and to all of our brave men and women in blue who keep us safe every day.”

"Public safety is always our top priority, and we know that crime prevention is always better than enforcement. These grant funds will help the Worcester Police Department continue its efforts to reach young people before they become the perpetrators or victims of violence," said City Manager Edward Augustus, Jr.

"This generous grant from the Department of Justice will allow us to bolster our efforts to reduce gang violence," said Police Chief Steven M. Sargent. "I want to thank Congressman Jim McGovern for his advocacy for these funds that will be used, in part, to work with high-risk youth and provide them with healthy alternatives to gang activities."

A growing number of communities have adopted OJJDP’s Comprehensive Gang Model, a multi-strategy, multidisciplinary approach that has proven to be effective in reducing gang activity. The fiscal year 2016 Comprehensive Anti-Gang Strategies and Programs solicitation provides funding for localities to enhance coordination of federal, state, and local resources in support of community partnerships implementing the following Anti-Gang programs: primary prevention, secondary prevention, gang intervention, and targeted gang enforcement.

The goal of Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) Project East is to reduce gang violence and prevent gang initiation among high-risk youth ages 12 to 17 in Worcester’s Eastside neighborhoods. SSYI Project East addresses a major geographical, age, and programmatic gap identified in Worcester’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, which was the result of a comprehensive community gang assessment and citywide strategic planning process. SSYI Project East will bolster Worcester’s Comprehensive Gang Model to direct outreach work and case management to up to 50 high-risk youth who live in the Eastside neighborhoods and are on the Worcester Public Schools Gang Protocol List. This project will complement the identification, outreach, and case management services through a targeted deterrence and pulling levers model.

The Worcester Police Department is the lead agency and has more than a decade of experience administering grants and coordinating cross-sector partnerships to implement the Comprehensive Gang Model in Worcester. Friendly House will be the lead street outreach and case management agency. Specialist partners include the Worcester Public Schools, Worcester Community Action Council for high-tier employment expertise and Clark University as the research partner. Clark University will track all required performance measures using a web-based, secure Sales force database. Data will be collected from outreach workers, case managers, and school personnel, as well as school and police records.