June is Gun Safety and Violence Awareness Month in Cumberland County and a host of activities are planned by the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office and its Cumberland County Positive Youth Development Coalition (CCPYDC). The month-long campaign will work to increase awareness of community resources, strengthen the connection to local law enforcement, and galvanize support for decreasing gun violence in the county.
A series of free and open-to-the-public activities are planned. They are Corner Store Health and safety events with education about prescription disposal bags for expired and unused medicines, and information about gun safety, including gun safety kits to residents in need of properly storing firearms. These events are planned in partnership with Live Healthy Vineland:
• June 11, 1–4 p.m. at Vasquez & Diaz Market, 437 W. Park Ave., Vineland;
• June 18, noon–2 p.m. at Rock of Salvation Food Pantry, 513 E. Grape St., Vineland;
• June 25, 1–4 p.m. at La Unica Grocery, 703 Almond St., Vineland;
• June 25, 4:30–6:30 p.m. at the YMCA, 1159 E. Landis Ave., Vineland.
In 2016, Cumberland County became the first county in the state of New Jersey to designate June as Gun Safety and Violence Awareness Month. Eleven of its 14 municipalities, as well as Cumberland County Commissioners adopted the resolution.
“Keeping our community safe and free of gun violence rests with each and every one of us as citizens,” said Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae. “Everyone loses when gun violence recklessly shatters our sense of safety and security. We owe it to our children to secure a brighter future. We invite you to join us in this effort….”
Throughout the month, a public awareness campaign on social media is providing facts, tips and other important information about gun safety and violence prevention. Residents are encouraged to follow CCPYDC on Facebook and Instagram. You can also take the Pledge to End Gun Violence.
The CCPYDC is the first county-wide juvenile delinquency effort in the state. Started in the city of Vineland in 2009, the Coalition expanded to Bridgeton and Millville in 2013. The Coalition brings together stakeholders from a number of sectors including education, law enforcement, social services, faith-based institutions, and youth serving organizations, in order to reduce juvenile delinquency and prevent those already involved in the juvenile justice system from becoming involved in the adult criminal justice system. Accomplishments to date include:
• Decreasing juvenile arrests by 56.5 percent from 2012-2019
• Increasing the use of Stationhouse Adjustment Program (SHA), a diversion program for first time offenders, by 522 percent between 2012-2019.
• Less than 20 percent of youth participating in this diversion program reoffended and were able to stay out of the juvenile system.