Half Million Fed Gun Violence Grant Aims to Bring Gang Peacemaking and ‘In-Reach’ to Haverhill

Local and state officials join Congresswoman Lori Trahan for a ceremonial check presentation at UTEC in Haverhill. (Courtesy photograph.)

UTEC CEO Gregg Croteau, Haverhill Police Chief Robert P. Pistone and Congresswoman Lori Trahan. (Courtesy photograph.)

A roundtable of local and state officials, law enforcement and UTEC brought praise Friday morning for a $500,000 grant delivered by Congresswoman Lori Trahan for gun violence prevention programs in Haverhill.

Coming during National Gun Violence Awareness Month, the money is to be used to bolster UTEC’s efforts to help high-risk young people avoid violence and develop skills necessary to build successful lives.

“The sharp rise in gun violence in recent months has been devastating for almost every community in our nation. We know that to stop gun violence, we need stronger federal laws like action on ghost guns, background checks and red flag laws and, more than anything, investments in community-level programs that target the root causes of this epidemic,” said Trahan.

UTEC opened a Haverhill office in 2019 on Winter Street, responding to a push led by Rep. Andy X. Vargas, Mayor James J. Fiorentini and then-Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro after two gun murders in the city. The state backed the plan with a two-year $682,486 grant from the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, which focuses on “proven-risk” youth more likely to experience violence.

“For UTEC, when we think about preventing gun violence, we think about meeting people where they are at, offering a solid support system and providing positive pathways,” said UTEC CEO Gregg Croteau.

Officials said the objectives of these programs are to provide intensive street outreach and gang peacemaking and “in-reach” to provide young adults currently jailed.

The roundtable discussion included input from Fiorentini, Haverhill Police Chief Robert P. Pistone, Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger, Reps. Vargas, Linda Dean Campbell and Christina A. Minicucci and City Councilors Joseph J. Bevilacqua and Melinda E. Barrett.

Just this year, Pistone said, “Haverhill officers have made 23 gun related arrests and have seized 20 guns, including ghost guns from non-law abiding suspects intent on using these firearms to commit crimes against others.”

“During my career as a Haverhill Police officer I’ve seen too many tragic events where young lives have been lost to senseless gun violence and resulting in devastation to the victims’ families, their loved ones and our community, Pistone said.

Comments are closed.