Historic Federal Investment Marks Significant Milestone in Fight Against Community Violence
Cleveland, OH — October 16, 2023 — The Criminology Research Center at Cleveland State’s Levin College of Public Affairs and Education in the Department of Criminology and Sociology, in collaboration with the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance and the Brenda Glass Multipurpose Trauma Center, has been awarded a $2 million grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to reduce community violence in Greater Cleveland. This historic federal investment marks the first time that BJA has directly funded two culturally specific, community-based organizations in Cleveland, making it a significant milestone in the fight against community violence.
Cleveland State University’s portion of the grant, $350,000 over three years, will support research and evaluation of the community-based organizations working together to meet the unique needs of the communities they serve. "This was a very competitive award,” shared Dr. Rachel Lovell, Director of the Criminology Research Center and lead researcher on the project. “We are pleased to provide research and evaluation support in efforts to curb gun violence in Greater Cleveland."
The award marks the first time that either of the two community-based organizations has partnered with higher education on an initiative of this nature. The partnership with the Criminology Research Center at Cleveland State University underscores a commitment to bridging the gap between academic research and real-world community intervention.
Cleveland has witnessed a significant increase in violent crime rates, with a 38% rise in homicides and a 40% increase in shootings from 2019 to 2022. The grant aims to address this surge in violent crime, particularly gun violence, by enhancing and expanding hospital-linked community violence outreach and trauma recovery services for high-risk victims and their families. These services will be trauma-informed, equity-focused, and developed in consultation with the affected communities.
The funded project has a multifaceted approach aimed at addressing the pressing issue of rising gun violence in Greater Cleveland. It will begin by enhancing and expanding the capacity of community violence intervention services to meet the growing demands within the community. Simultaneously, the project will develop and implement a comprehensive need assessment, process evaluation, and impact evaluation, specifically focusing on Greater Cleveland's sole hospital-linked community violence interruption and prevention initiative.
Furthermore, the project will work to strengthen the capabilities of the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance and the Brenda Glass Multipurpose Trauma Center in terms of collecting performance metrics and outcome data. These enhancements will facilitate ongoing program monitoring and evaluation, ensuring that the interventions are effective and responsive to the evolving needs of the community.
“This award represents a significant step forward in the collective effort to address community violence,” said Dr. Lovell. “It highlights the importance of community-based organizations working in close partnership with academic institutions and government agencies to create safer, healthier, and more vibrant communities.”
For more information about the Criminology Research Center at the Levin College at Cleveland State University’s Department of Criminology and Sociology, please visit: https://levin.csuohio.edu/criminology/criminology.
Click here to watch a story on News Channel 5 highlighting this important investment in Cleveland’s neighborhoods.