Steven Horsford

From the office of:

Steven Horsford

Sending Office: Honorable Steven Horsford
Sent By:

        Request for Cosponsor(s)

Endorsing Organizations: Giffords, National Black and Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium, Cure Violence, National Network for Safe Communities, Health Alliance for Violence Intervention, African American Mayors Association,
Amnesty International, American Public Health Association

Current Originals: Holmes Norton

Dear Colleague:

Please join me as an original cosponsor of the Break the Cycle of Violence Actwhich would propose an annual investment of $90 million in effective violence intervention programs.

DEADLINE: TODAY at 12pm (10/23)


Each year, there are over 12,000 gun homicides and 67,000 non-fatal gun assaults in the US—and these numbers are rising. This violence is a cycle: in studies of some urban hospitals, researchers have found that up to 45 percent of patients
treated for injuries like gunshots were violently reinjured within five years. People who have been violently victimized are also at increased risk of retaliating and becoming perpetrators of violence: being shot, being shot at, or witnessing a shooting doubles
the probability that a young person will commit violence in the next two years. This violence disproportionately impacts young people of color. Black children and teens are nearly 15 times as likely to be shot to death as their white peers, while Hispanic
children and teens are both three times as likely to be shot to death. Guns now kill more young people than car accidents: researchers have determined gun violence as the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 29, just following
drug overdoses.

This violence imposes enormous fiscal costs on all communities and taxpayers. On average, a single gun homicide generates approximately $448,000 in medical care and criminal justice expenses—and taxpayers pay most of those costs. In total,
gun violence costs the United States $229 billion every year—with each American shouldering over $700 of this cost annually.


Evidence-based violence intervention and prevention programs designed to interrupt cycles of violence and retaliation have proven to be highly effective at reducing rates of urban gun violence, saving both lives and taxpayer dollars. From 2012 to 2013, a
$2 million violence reduction program in two Massachusetts cities generated nearly $15 million in savings from decreases in crime. However, these programs require consistent and reliable federal funding to be successful. Currently, these effective programs
have been implemented in only a handful of cities and lack a reliable or adequate stream of resources.

  • Group violence intervention strategies are a form of problem-oriented policing that coordinates law enforcement, service providers, and community engagement efforts to reduce risk of violence among the small, identifiable segment of the
    population that is responsible for the vast majority of violence in most cities. In Connecticut, combined gun violence rates have dropped by more than 50% in three major cities since 2011, with help from a state-funded violence intervention program; at a total
    cost of less than $1 million per year, this program has prevented shootings while generating an annual savings of $7 million.
  • Evidence-based street outreach programs treat gun violence as a communicable disease and work to interrupt its transmission among community members. These public health-centered initiatives use street outreach workers to connect with individuals
    at highest risk of committing or becoming victims of gun violence. Evaluations have found that these programs are associated with significant reductions in gun homicides, with some sites reporting up to 70% reductions in homicides and assaults. One Massachusetts
    program has had an impact on both violence and incarceration rates, saving Massachusetts an estimated $7 for each dollar invested in the program.
  • Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs (HVIPs) seek to break the cycle of violence by providing interventions at the time when victims are most vulnerable—the “teachable moment” that occurs while in the hospital in recovery. HVIPs
    connect violently injured patients with intervention specialists and peer counselors to provide desperately needed trauma care, mediation, and other services to reduce the patient’s risk of retaliation or reinjury. Evaluations have found that violently injured
    patients who received HVIP services were four times less likely to be convicted of a violent crime and roughly four times less likely to be subsequently reinjured by violence than patients who did not receive HVIP services.


The federal Break the Cycle of Violence Act proposes to authorize $90 million in annual investment in effective violence intervention programs: $65 million each year for 10 years for a competitive grant program for to cities that develop effective, prevention-oriented
violence reduction initiatives focused on young people at highest risk for violence, and $25 million each year for 10 years for grants to support creation or expansion of HVIPs in hospitals that treat at least 200 patients annually for gunshot or stabbing

If these programs reduce gun homicides nationally by just 1.3%—meaning preventing 195 firearm homicides annually—the bill will more than pay for itself in cost savings to taxpayers, from health care and criminal justice costs alone. A 1.3%
reduction in gun homicides would save $90.5 million in directly measurable public expenses. If the program reduces gun homicides by just 5%, the program will result in a cost savings of $335.5 million per year to taxpayers, from reduced criminal justice and
health care costs alone. These savings would mean that for every dollar invested in the program, taxpayers would save $3.73 in criminal justice and health care costs.

If you have any questions or would like to become an original cosponsor, please contact LaVontae Brooks at (Rep. Horsford).


Steven Horsford

Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Civil Rights, HealthCare, Judiciary

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