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RACINE — The City of Racine has been named a recipient of a grant from the Wisconsin Community Safety Fund (WCSF) to reduce violence stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of $1,500,000 in funds will be awarded to the city over three years.

The WCSF was created to support local, evidence-based activities that enhance the safety and well-being of children, youth and families. Awarding Violence Prevention grants to Wisconsin communities aligns with their goal.

Along with WCSF, the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Comprehensive Injury Center has partnered with this initiative with the hope to create safer communities across Wisconsin. They are assisting in administering this statewide grant program.

Racine’s commitment to safety

Mayor Cory Mason announced the grant today and shared the following:

Cory Mason
Mayor Cory Mason

“The City of Racine is strongly committed to a safe and healthy community. This grant will give us resources to establish an Office of Violence Prevention, collaborate more with community partners, and use evidence-based approaches to prevent crimes before they happen.”

This funding will allow the City of Racine to establish a city-wide Office of Violence Prevention, contract with national violence reduction partners, engage local stakeholders, and develop a gun violence intervention plan. According to the city, this plan will be based on community input and trends.

“I want to invite everyone in Racine to join us in this work. Together, we can stop the violence and save lives, and we can help people heal and create long-lasting peace,” expressed Mayor Mason.

Reducing violence across Wisconsin communities

The City of Racine is just one of the recipients of this crucial funding.

The need of increasing community capacity for violence prevention has been identified. This allotment of funding is made available to support community-centered projects outside of traditional criminal justice approaches to public safety.

There are 10 recipients of this funding, including the City of Racine, and they will receive support from the Comprehensive Injury Center at MCW to assist with data, evaluation, and training in public health approaches to violence prevention.

COVID-19’s impact

The goal is to increase community capacity for violence prevention. Therefore, Gov. Tony Evers allocated a portion of the Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money received by the state of Wisconsin to fund these grants.

State and local governments were encouraged to invest ARPA funds in addressing increased levels of gun violence, suicide, and intimate partner violence since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the release.

“The COVID-19 pandemic surfaced disparities confirming what we know to be true — that violence is a public health problem. Implementing innovative approaches that foster community safety and prevent violence to others and oneself is possible with the right investment of resources,” said Reggie Moore, director of violence prevention at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “That the Wisconsin Community Safety Fund can provide these much-needed dollars and support will further help to build communities across the state that are healthy and safe for everyone.”