The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled the highest gun homicide numbers in over 20 years in the U.S. The pandemic has also had a disproportionate impact on the same communities that are disproportionately impacted by gun violence. For decades, gun violence has been the leading cause of death for Black males 15-34 and the second leading cause of death for Latino males and Black females of the same age. COVID-19 has brought new levels of trauma and despair to these same communities and helped bring historic spikes in violence in already vulnerable neighborhoods. This is a racial equity and public health issue that cannot be ignored.
In order to address the national public health crisis, the federal government recently enacted the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) with significant portions allocated for city, county, and state support. Without reducing Detroit’s increase in gun violence, those of us in the most impacted communities cannot begin to fully recover from the negative fiscal and public safety impact of COVID-19.
Although the ARP has no specific designations for funding services to reduce gun violence, its allocation of over 800 million from Section 9901 “The Coronavirus State and Local Recovery Funds” gives Detroit the power to support proven, evidence-based public health solutions to reduce gun violence. To effectively reduce the violence in our most impacted communities, we are asking that just 2% or 16M of these recovery funds be invested in targeted programs to address gun violence. Funding these programs at the community level will not only decrease violent crime, but will also provide jobs and economic development to areas that have suffered from high rates of unemployment during the pandemic
Some effective programs in our city include Ceasefire Detroit, DLIVE, and Detroit 300 which have reduced gun violence and supported transformation in our recent history. Yet this is far from the city-wide infrastructure necessary to sustain reductions in gun violence. Other programs and organizations that contribute to the safety of our city have yet to receive public support include the Live In Peace Program, New Era Detroit, Church of the Messiah, The Peoples Action, the Nation of Islam, Dignity for Detroit, The Moorish Science Temple, Flip The Script and more. We recommend targeting resources to organizations like these. Since ARP funds can be used over the course of the next three years (until 2024), we believe that investments can be made in strategic ways to ensure multiple years of funding for life-saving programs that can make a significant impact on the health of communities that have been most seriously hit by both the pandemic and the interrelated public health crisis of gun violence.
We stand with you as partners to help ensure that much-needed emergency federal funds are directed toward efforts to address the behavioral, mental, and public health needs of some of our most traumatized populations.
Over $6 Million spent on gun violence related crime scene clean up by Detroit in 2020
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At the age of 14 years old while standing on the corner selling drugs I was shot in the arm with a sawed-off shotgun. By that time two of my older brothers had already been shot. I also had cousins who have been shot. Violence in our family was horrific. I can not begin to count the acts of violence that I witnessed or heard about.
According to 2019 projections of expenses for crime scene clean-up, in 2020 Detroit spent $6,481,152 on gun violence-related crime scene clean-up. Tell your next Mayor and City Council to fund violence intervention in Detroit.