Building on efforts to reduce violent crime in Atlantic City, Assemblymen Vincent Mazzeo and John Armato advocated for Atlantic City to receive funding for an anti-violence youth program in this year’s State budget. Upon the Legislature approving their request and the budget being signed by Governor Phil Murphy on June 29, Atlantic City will now be a recipient of this funding.
Law enforcement, community leaders, and state and local officials continue to work towards the goal of reducing Atlantic City’s crime rate through community outreach and other alternative methods. An anti-violence summer program would work to reach youth in areas of the city where gun violence and other violent criminal activity often takes place.
As a result of Mazzeo and Armato’s advocacy, Atlantic City will now be included in a legislative grant previously awarded only to Paterson, Trenton and Newark. The overall funding appropriated for the Anti-Violence Out-of-School grant was increased from $4 million to $6 million in order to include Atlantic City in this year’s appropriation.
“This funding will go a long way in reaching young people at risk for gun violence or criminal activities,” said Assemblyman Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “The programs supported by the Anti-Violence Out-of-School Grant will serve as a safer, more productive alternative for Atlantic City youth during the summer. We are dedicated to working alongside the Atlantic City mayor, police department and other community groups in order to reduce the rate of youth violence that has increased over the past year. A program that can show young people the true cost of violence while directing them towards positive activities will make a significant difference in our community.”
The four grant recipients will be able to use the funding to enact programs and provide services seeking to combat violence in their communities. In previous years, funding has been used to provide education and job training to young people who are not succeeding in school, to create community-based violence reduction initiatives that help resolve conflict and provide victim services, and more.
“Too often, our youth get caught up in the cycle of violence, engaging in harmful, criminal activities from a young age,” said Assemblyman Armato (D-Atlantic). “A summer program that provides our youths with an alternative to engaging in violence and crime will help reduce violence in our communities. I want to thank the local leaders who are stepping up to help deter violent gun crimes and boardwalk robberies to keep Atlantic City residents safe and encourage young people to engage in more productive activities.”
“I applaud Assemblymen Mazzeo & Armato on their leadership in bringing funding for our Anti-Violence and Recreation initiatives. My Administration is being proactive in the fight against senseless violence and this funding will help us grow our programs,” Mayor Marty Small. “This shows commitment from the state to The GREAT City of Atlantic City continuing our strong partnership.”