McDuffie Introduces Bills to Invest in Communities and Address Root Causes of Crime

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Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie Introduces Bills to:

Create a new D.C. Center for Firearm Violence Prevention Research

Create a new H.O.P.E. Fund to Inject Resources into Targeted Communities

Direct Currency and Property Received by Police to Fund Violence Prevention and Intervention Initiatives

Washington, DC – Today, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development, introduced three pieces of legislation in response to recent incidents of gun violence in the District of Columbia. The bills underscore Councilmember McDuffie’s call for a heightened sense of urgency and that the District of Columbia must use all available resources to address the root causes of violence that plague communities across the District.

The Center for Firearm Violence Prevention Research Establishment Act of 2018 [ B22-0843 ] The Center for Firearm Violence Prevention Research Establishment Act of 2018 would establish the Center for Firearm Violence Prevention and Research in the District of Columbia. The center would address the nature of firearm violence, including individual and societal determinants of risk for involvement in firearm violence, whether as a victim or a perpetrator; the consequence of firearm violence as it affects the individual, the immediate community, and the larger society; and the prevention and treatment of firearm violence at the individual, community, and societal levels. The Center is also required to produce a report every three years on grants made, pending grants, program accomplishments, and the future direction of the program.

With introduction of this legislation, Councilmember McDuffie said:

“The foundation of any effective public policy is data. While we know there have been 64 homicides in the District of Columbia to date in 2018, that is essentially the only data we have on gun violence in D.C. By establishing the Center for Firearm Violence Prevention Research in the District of Columbia, we can be sure the policies we adopt are effective and based on sound research.”

The Neighborhood Safety and Engagement Fund Violence Prevention and Intervention Initiatives Enhancement Act of 2018 [ B22-0844 ] The Neighborhood Safety and Engagement Fund Violence Prevention and Intervention Initiatives Enhancement Act of 2018 will direct currency and sale proceeds received by the Metropolitan Police Department to the Neighborhood Safety and Engagement Fund, to be used for violence prevention and intervention initiatives. The fund will be administered by the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, a cornerstone of Councilmember McDuffie’s innovative criminal justice reform bill, the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Act (NEAR Act), which addresses the root causes of violent crime.

With introduction of this legislation, Councilmember McDuffie said:

“It only makes sense that the currency and property taken in the course of law enforcement should be invested back into the community to address root causes of violent crime. This bill does exactly that by creating a fund for violence prevention and intervention, housed in the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement. If this law were already in place, the $560,000 in currency and sale proceeds received by the police in 2017 would be going toward proactive, data-driven violent crime prevention initiatives.”

The Local Communities Having Opportunities to Promote Equity Grant Fund Establishment Act of 2018 [ B22-0845 ] The Local Communities Having Opportunities to Promote Equity (H.O.P.E) Grant Fund Establishment Act of 2018 would establish the HOPE fund to be used to fund community priorities within designated qualified opportunity zones. As introduced, this legislation establishes an initial investment of $450,000 in seed funding and will be funded on an ongoing basis by directing 10% of enforcement penalties collected by the D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development and directing .1% of sales taxes from designated qualified opportunity zones to the fund.

With introduction of this legislation, Councilmember McDuffie said:

“If we are to achieve equity throughout the entire District of Columbia, we must be deliberate about investing resources into communities that do not receive equal levels of private sector economic development. As introduced, the new HOPE fund helps to fill that gap by directing resources to underserved community priorities including public safety initiatives, small business development, and capacity building initiatives.”

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