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    Chapter 17B: Establishment of department; "the department" defined

      Section: 52:17B-242.1: Findings, declarations relative to violence intervention strategies.

          1. The Legislature finds and declares that:

a. In New Jersey, community violence is a public health crisis that disproportionately impacts underserved communities of color and firearm violence specifically is a major component of that violence;

b. Each year, New Jersey suffers more than 1,000 interpersonal shootings and, in 2016, African American and Latino men constituted 90 percent of the total firearm homicide victims in the State;

c. A few New Jersey cities suffer the vast majority of homicides in this State, most of which are committed with a firearm, and in 2015, more than half of the State's total homicides occurred in the cities of Camden, Jersey City, Newark, Paterson, and Trenton;

d. This violence results in enormous trauma, lifelong health impairments, immeasurable human suffering, and significant economic costs;

e. The direct costs of firearm violence in New Jersey are over $1.2 billion per year including healthcare expenses, law enforcement and criminal justice expenses, costs to employers, and lost income, and when reduced quality of life attributable to pain and suffering is considered, the overall economic cost of firearm violence is $3.3 billion per year;

f. The vast majority of victims and perpetrators of violence are young men of color who are at heightened risk for exposure to violence because of a number of risk factors, including lack of educational and economic opportunity, unaddressed mental health needs, substance abuse issues, unstable housing situations, and previous exposure to violence;

g. Research indicates that in most cities in the United States less than a half percent of a given city's population is responsible for the vast majority of violence and effectively intervening with this high risk population is essential to addressing and preventing interpersonal violence;

h. Historically, community-based violence intervention strategies have demonstrated remarkable success at reducing shootings and other incidents involving the use of firearms in heavily impacted communities and when properly implemented and consistently funded, these programs produce impressive life-saving and cost-saving results in a short period of time;

i. Large reductions in violence have been seen in cities that centrally coordinate multiple violence reduction strategies, including New York City; and

j. Providing consistent funding and support to the evidence-based violence reduction initiatives is an essential part of New Jersey's comprehensive response to interpersonal firearm violence and given the extremely high cost of firearm violence, public investment in these solutions is very likely to generate significant savings for New Jersey taxpayers.

L.2019, c.365, s.1.

This section added to the Rutgers Database: 2020-02-12 11:02:39.

Older versions of 52:17B-242.1 (if available):

Court decisions that cite this statute: CLICK HERE.