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City of Tampa Enters Implementation Phase of DOJ Grant to Reduce Violent Crime

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In 2022, the City of Tampa was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a component of the Office of Justice Programs, to develop and implement a Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative. The City of Tampa is excited to announce the second phase of this three-year grant initiative focused on addressing gun violence and supporting youth in the community. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the City of Tampa, the University of South Florida (USF), and Safe & Sound Hillsborough.

"The safety of our community is our top priority," said Mayor Jane Castor. "This grant allows us to put a thorough plan into practice that addresses both crime reduction and prevention while fostering stronger relationships with our residents. I am confident that through collaboration with TPD, community partners, and social service providers, we can ensure Tampa remains one of the safest cities of our size in the nation."

The grant is a three-year program, currently in its second year. The first year was a planning year, a requirement of the grant, when TPD worked directly with DOJ to develop and finalize the initiative implementation plan. Now with BJA approval of the City’s plan, the implementation phase will empower TPD to employ its comprehensive policing philosophy in alignment with the four pillars of the department: Community-Oriented Policing, Crime Reduction, Quality Assurance, and Wellness.

The Tampa Police Department constantly looks for new approaches and resources to keep our community safe. This proactive approach has paid off with this grant to focus on tackling violent crime and the social issues that fuel it,” said Chief Lee Bercaw. “This grant is another opportunity to expand our community-oriented policing efforts and continue working with partners to make Tampa safer, together.”.

Safe & Sound Hillsborough plays a crucial role by offering case management services to break the cycle of recidivism and connect individuals with essential resources.

“This is a great opportunity”, added Freddy Barton, Executive Director of Safe & Sound Hillsborough.  “From a programmatic viewpoint, this grant will allow us to work directly with deep-end youth and their families, provide support for victims of gun violence, expand wraparound services through community partners, and provide sponsorship and funding support for neighborhood and community groups; all to promote safety, reduce recidivism and further improve relationships between law enforcement and community.”

Key goals of the initiative will include addressing youth and community gun violence, working with youth (ages 10-17) and their families involved in gun crimes, partnering with local organizations to provide wraparound services for at-risk youth, and offering support to victims and families of  victims of gun violence

Local non-profits, faith-based groups, and mentoring organizations are encouraged to apply for sub-recipients of grant funding. These sub-recipients will be required to provide critical services such as:

  • Case Management
  • Youth Development
  • Counseling
  • Educational Support
  • Vocational Support
  • Mentoring
  • Long-Term Sustainability

The City has partnered with USF as a research partner for the grant, tasked with collecting and analyzing data to track the progress of the Violence Reduction Strategy.  USF will also be responsible for the overall program evaluation to measure efficacy and provide recommendations for the long-term sustainability of the project.

The City of Tampa and the Tampa Police Department are committed to working together with the community to create a safer and secure environment, and improved quality of life for all residents.  The implementation phase of this grant award represents a significant step forward in achieving that goal.