The Vallejo Police Department will soon receive $1 million in federal funding for a gun violence and violent crime prevention program titled Project HOPE, Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, announced.
Project HOPE — which stands for Harm-focused Outreach, Prevention and Engagement — will work to mitigate violence in the city’s neighborhoods most vulnerable to crime, which police note as greater south Vallejo and the Crest neighborhood and surrounding areas.
A few of the project’s community- and evidence-based strategies to prevent crime includes trauma-informed violence intervention services, neighborhood revitalization and community outreach, with a specific focus on youth and family services.
The hope is for the city to have 10 percent less youth involved in crimes, 10 percent less violent crimes overall and 15 percent less in hotspot areas, 10 percent less gun violence, and 20 percent more non-enforcement police activities.
VPD will work to offer a voluntary youth court diversion program to help adolescent first-time offenders of minor crimes change their path and find new opportunities. Rather than face incarceration, youth would be sentenced to time spent with mentors and in healthy living classes.
Project HOPE also plans to implement a hospital-based violence interruption program for victims of gunshot wounds to promote peaceful conflict resolution to reduce their chances of falling into the cycle of violence. Follow-up services for victims will also include educational support, job training and mental health services.
VPD will additionally train street outreach workers with lived experience to intervene during disputes before conflicts escalate to violence.
“Gun violence is a scourge that affects the lives of too many Americans across our great country,” Thompson said in a statement. “As the chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I’m proud to have secured this funding for the Vallejo Police Department to reduce violence in our communities. I look forward to working with the VPD to implement Project HOPE and provide a safer and more secure future for our children.”
Thompson secured funding through the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Bryne Criminal Justice Innovation program, a competitive funding program that issued only 20 awards across the nation for communities subject to gang activity and gun violence.
“We are thrilled Vallejo was selected as a Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation site,” Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams said in a statement. “This $1 million award will help VPD’s Project HOPE change the lives of our residents through proven community violence intervention and prevention strategies, accessible wraparound social services, and will help take guns and violent offenders off our streets. We look forward to continuing to work together with our partners and supporters, including Congressman Thompson, to end this epidemic of violent crime in our city.”