4 cities awarded money to fight gang violence

Chicopee, Holyoke, Pittsfield, and Springfield, as well as UMass will share a portion of grant money

BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker announced more than $5.5 million in grants to help police departments combat gang violence. Shannon Grants encourage local leaders, police departments, and community groups to work together to target gang violence, especially among young people.

Four western Massachusetts communities: Chicopee, Holyoke, Pittsfield, and Springfield, as well as the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, will share a portion of the $5.7 million.

The program provides funds for cities and towns with high levels of youth violence and gang problems. The money will be spent on initiatives that connect young people with education and jobs. It will also help police departments strengthen their gang task forces.

“This is the sort of thing that we need to do, we should do, and it matters and makes a difference, and has a track record to prove it,” Baker said.

The grant program was established in 2006 in memory of State Senator Charles Shannon, who also had served as a police officer.