Community Gun Violence Prevention Program

MISSION AND STRATEGY: Many communities in Connecticut, like others across the country, experienced increases in community gun violence at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2022 and continuing through 2021. Unquestionably, the pandemic has had a significant effect on this issue by introducing myriad challenges—economic and housing insecurity, dislocation of youth, and limited mobility that aggravated interpersonal tensions—and making it more difficult for law enforcement, public and nonprofit organizations, and community groups to respond to the needs of people in neighborhoods experiencing increases in violence. There is a significant disproportionate impact on minorities, especially as it relates to criminal justice: non-Hispanic Black people are victims of 46% of annual CT homicides, although they make up 11% of the CT population. Hispanics comprise 22% of CT homicides and make up 17% of the population.  Non-Hispanic Whites comprise 30% of homicides but encompass almost 67% of CT’s population.  Finally, non-Hispanic residents of Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, or Alaskan Native races comprise 2% of homicides, although they make up 5% of CT’s population.  Clearly, there are health disparities by race and ethnicity.  Young men are especially vulnerable to victimization, facing homicide rates at approximately 100 times the national average.  The average age of CT homicide victims ranges from 31 to 47 years of age, with Black and Hispanic resident deaths occurring in 31- and 32-year-olds, on average. 
The CT DPH Community Gun Violence Prevention Program was implemented to:  
  • Support the growth of existing evidence-based or evidence-informed community violence and gun violence prevention and intervention programs throughout the state, including Hospital-Based Intervention Programs (HVIPs) and community violence intervention and street outreach programs.  These programs work to build strong relationships with victims of firearm violence and violence of other means; connect with the youth, residents, businesses and other community-based groups to prevent conflict, neighborhood shootings and homicide.  These programs also coordinate follow-up medical care and behavioral health care for victims of violence and support high-risk youth and young adults in improving their quality of life by providing opportunities for education and employment.
  • Continue timely surveillance of firearm and stabbing-involved homicides and assaults at DPH and build a data dissemination plan to share that data with state partners for focused public health prevention strategies and interventions.   
  • Address and respond to the sharp rise in gun-involved homicides, stabbing/sharp force homicides, and homicides in general, in CT’s communities since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Desired Outputs and Outcomes:  

  1. DPH builds new relationships and strengthens existing relationships with local organizations involved in community violence and gun violence prevention and intervention.
  2. Effective community-based and hospital-based violence prevention and intervention programs are supported and funded by the State for growth and expansion to high-risk geographic areas throughout Connecticut.   
  3. Trauma-informed care and wrap-around services are provided to those in most need of these services.    
  4. State and local stakeholders of DPH use enhanced surveillance data to design and target interventions and monitor progress in reducing firearm and sharp force-involved injuries and deaths.    
  5. Community-based violence prevention and intervention programs use evidence-based and data-driven public health strategies to reduce and prevent community violence-involved injuries and deaths.    
  6. Firearm- and sharp force-involved morbidity and mortality are reduced and prevented.

Commission on Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention

Commission Meetings

Data Evaluation & Analysis Sub-Committee<

Partnership, Programs, Stakeholder Community Engagement Sub-Committee

Sustainability – Financial and Legislative Sub-Committee

Testimony (2023)

Testimony (2022)