The former Baker-Polito Administration awarded the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) $757,147.86 through the Senator Charles E. Shannon, Jr. Community Safety Initiative (CSI) Grant Program for the Metro Mayors CSI. A subset of the Metro Mayors Coalition, the Metro Mayors CSIincludes the cities/towns of Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, and Winthrop. The Metro Mayors CSI seeks to reduce youth violence and gang-related crime in metropolitan Boston and the surrounding communities by implementing a multi-disciplinary, anti-gang strategy.
“Since taking office, I have worked to ensure that Massachusetts communities have the resources necessary to promote public safety while providing positive opportunities for young people. There is no single agency or approach that can achieve this goal. The partnerships built through the Shannon Community Safety Initiative [Grant Program] are an important part of our work creating safer communities,” said former Governor Charlie Baker.
The Shannon Grant Program, funded through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Office of Grants and Research, supports regional and multi-disciplinary approaches to youth violence intervention, prevention, enforcement, prosecution, and reintegration services. The initiative is designed to serve youth and emerging adults between the ages of 10 and 24 living in a community that has been identified as a hot-spot and who are at-risk or high-risk of gang involvement.
As the Metro Mayors CSI site, MAPC coordinates programs that serve thousands of youth to help them achieve positive life outcomes. Various types of activities are supported by Shannon Grant funding, including directed hotspot patrols, after school programs, job trainings, and mental health counseling. The grant process is competitive: every year, MAPC submits a comprehensive plan to provide a coordinated prevention and suppression strategy across the Metro Mayors CSI.
“These grant dollars go straight to community-based organizations and government agencies in the Metro Mayors CSI that offer programs to help youth achieve positive life outcomes and keep communities safe,” said Amy Reilly, assistant director of municipal collaboration at MAPC. “Collectively, the cities and towns implement evidence-based strategies and share best practices to increase positive opportunities for youth.”
“Chief Cronin always states that anything we do above and beyond during the year and especially the summer is due to the Shannon Community Safety Initiative. I am certain that is why we have been able to build relationships, which has helped to reduce crime overall,” said Mayor of Malden Gary Christenson.
“As a direct result of the financial support provided by the Shannon Grant, our police department has been fortunate to immerse themselves in almost every youth related program within our city. This has been the cornerstone of our success in reducing youth related violence, and more importantly, the impetus that has led to positive relationships between the officers and the youth they serve,” continued Mayor Christenson.
Each of the Shannon Grant-funded sites (more than $10 million was awarded in total) works with numerous partner agencies, such as law enforcement, social service providers and other agencies focused on intervention, prevention, suppression, youth programming and community mobilization efforts. Shannon sites also partner with Local Action Research Partners who provide grant recipients technical and research support, assistance in completing reports and feedback to ensure that partner programs are utilizing best practices.
“This important grant funding allows the City of Cambridge to strategically expand its outreach and dedicate resources to mitigating high-risk and/or violent behavior by building positive, supportive frameworks for youth in Cambridge and the region,” said Cambridge Police Commissioner Christine Elow.
The Metro Mayors CSI’s eight municipalities partner with 18 organizations, including: the Cambridge Community Art Center; Cambridge Police Department; Cambridge Youth Programs; CAPIC – Revere Police Activities League; Center for Teen Empowerment; Chelsea Police Department; Gerald and Darlene Jordan Boys & Girls Club; Everett Police Department; City of Malden; Malden Police Department; Malden/Mystic Valley YMCA; Quincy Police Department; Quincy Recreation Department; Revere Police Department; Roca Inc.; Somerville Police Department; Winthrop Community Against Substance Abuse; and the Winthrop Police Department.
The Shannon Grant was established in 2006, when the Metro Mayors Coalition worked with the Legislature to allocate funding to combat youth violence, gang violence, and substance use through regional, multi-disciplinary efforts. The program is nationally recognized for its effective approach to deterring gang and youth violence through targeted enforcement and prevention strategies.
The grant honors Senator Charles Shannon, a Massachusetts state senator who represented the Second Middlesex district from 1991 until 2005. He served as a police officer for 20 years and worked to diminish gang violence in Somerville during his time in the Senate. After his death, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security began administering the Charles E. Shannon Jr. Community Safety Initiative.