Springfield city councilor believes more outreach will help youth stay out of trouble

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Springfield City Councilor wants more outreach and prevention to combat gun violence in the city. This as police continue to confiscate illegal guns on the regular. 

So far this year, the Springfield Police Department has seized more than 160 illegal firearms off the streets, but City Councilor Trayce Whitfield and others are saying there is more work to be done, especially with the city’s youth and young adults. 

Springfield City Councilor Trayce Whitfield is asking the city to step up their efforts in lowering gun violence among the city’s youth and young adults. Since the start of the month, police have seized 25 unlawful firearms. 

However, Whitfield said arrests aren’t enough. 

She told 22News, “This is not anti-police, however, I don’t think more aggressive arrests or increasing bail solves the problem. Eventually they’re going to get out and they’ll be in the same situation. I want to see more resources for jobs and education.” 

The department received state funding from what’s known as the Shannon Grant funds. The money is used to steer youth away from gang activity and violence. This year, the city was awarded a little more than a million dollars in funding; $260,000 of it went to the Springfield Police Department. 

Outlined here by the state, they’ve used that money to help youth with jobs, education, and mental health services. The remaining amount helped fund organizations that include The Boys and Girls Club, Martin Luther King Family Services, and the South End Community Center among others. 

However, City Councilor Justin Hurst, who stands with Whitfield on this stance said that a critical assessment of those receiving Shannon Grant funding is long overdue. 

Springfield Police spokesman Ryan Walsh said this year everyone who applied for a Shannon Grant was included, no one was denied. 

It’s ultimately up to the state to determine who receives funding. 

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