Experts would assist government leaders with all violence prevention efforts
PHILADELPHIA – Councilmember Allan Domb today called on the Mayor’s Administration to establish and implement an Academic Expert Advisory Team with professionals from area colleges and universities to assist the city with all violence prevention efforts, especially the Anti-Violence Community Expansion Grant program.
The resolution introduced today would supplement the Violence Prevention Opportunity Monitoring Group that is charged with monitoring and supporting the community organizations receiving the $22 million commitment to the public for the purpose of reducing violence. The academic experts, who have made a career of program evaluation, will provide great value in helping the city target all its violence prevention resources, including the entire $155 million violence prevention investment toward impactful programming and to monitor the effectiveness of programs over time.
“We owe it to ourselves and to all Philadelphians, to ensure that each and every dollar we invest in violence reduction gets the results we need immediately and over the long-term,” said Councilmember Domb. “We need to bring in a higher level of expertise in the fields of program evaluation and research. This is a field that government doesn’t specialize in, and we must lean into every evidence-based approach to violence prevention, at every turn.”
“This is an opportunity to bring together the greatest minds from our world-class colleges and universities to work with us – to provide advice, capture data, and guide us in our review of ongoing research.”
The city historically has not thoroughly assessed whether its anti-violence approaches work. Utilizing academic experts in the fields of violence prevention, criminology, psychology and other research fields would be a start to investing in evidence-based programs in government and to hold the city accountable to those standards.
“We need to set a new path forward and invest in programs and people differently than we did before,” said Councilmember Domb. “We need to tap every resource we can right now to curb the violence we’re experiencing in our communities, if we are going to truly tackle our city’s number one issue. For all these reasons, bringing in the experts – the best in the field – is not a suggestion, but an absolute necessity at this point.”
The resolution states that members would be appointed to the Academic Expert Advisory Team under the direction of the Mayor’s Administration. Councilmembers Isaiah Thomas, Kendra Brooks and Mark Squilla have co-sponsored the resolution.
“I speak for every government official, for every community member, and for every resident of this city when I say this violence is a gut-wrenching tragedy for us all,” said Councilmember Domb. “Each and every one of these murder victims or shooting victims is a human being surrounded by family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, and colleagues. This has been a devastating time to say the very least, and if we believe everyone has an important role to play in curbing this violence, then that certainly includes our academic partners in Philadelphia.”