By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — Police in Haverhill have received a $108,277 Shannon Community Safety Initiative grant to combat crime, particularly gang activity.
Funding is primarily used for gang task force personnel costs, crime analysis, and social intervention and opportunity provision programs, officials said.
“This grant will allow for the continuation and expansion of existing efforts to combat the encroachment of gangs and violence into Haverhill,” State Rep. Brian Dempsey said in announcing the funding. “A well-equipped and trained police force that is capable of intervening and preventing violence before it occurs will provide a safer community for all of Haverhill’s citizens.”
The grant was announced this week by Dempsey, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, in partnership with State Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport,, State Reps. Linda Dean Campbell, D-Methuen, Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, and Lenny Mirra, R-West Newbury, as well as Mayor James Fiorentini.
“The funds from this Shannon Community Safety Initiative grant will strengthen the city of Haverhill’s continued work towards increasing public safety and curbing youth violence,” O’Connor Ives said.
Officials said these grants are awarded to communities based on factors that include the crime rate of a city or a town, high levels of youth violence and gang problems, whether the community has a comprehensive plan to work with multi-disciplinary partners and a commitment to coordinated prevention and intervention strategies.
Shannon grants are administered through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety with funding allocated by the Massachusetts Legislature for this purpose.
Campbell said increased police presence and public safety is the number one priority for the citizens of Haverhill.
Dizoglio noted that this year’s grant for Haverhill amounts to a 10 percent increase over last year’s award.