University of Maryland focuses new center towards control on gun violence

Isabella Saez, Assistant Editor

On Nov. 22, 2022, The University of Maryland launched the center for “The Study and Practice of Violence Reduction” also known as the “VRC” . The new building is in support of the evolving 120 initiative, in which the DC and College Park universities work together to pay close attention to the gun violence crisis and how to address it. 


According to FBI data, gun violence has become the leading cause of death in youth from ages 1-19. People continue to panic as they do not feel safe in their communities. 


Through intense research, the VRC will gather important data on the effects of the gun violence crisis and make it available to the public free of charge. The essential purpose of the center is to make sense of rigorous data collection that can then be used to continue advocating for control on gun violence. 


The VRC will apply new solutions for federal leaders to take advantage of and use in hopes to bring together local law enforcement teams. The platform is going to be easily accessible in order to continue to promote anti-violence strategies. 


The mission of the VRC is to “save lives by stopping violence”. The three valued principles of the center in order to accomplish their mission is: using strong scientific evidence of effectiveness, applying real world relevance, and independence. All of these methods are their way of staying bias-free and of no conflicts. 


Alongside the VRC, will be the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice led by Thomas Abt. In the center, Abt will be working with CCJS department professors Rod Brunson, Bianca Bersani and Joseph Richardson. 


“To put it plainly, the mission of the VRC is to save lives by stopping violence. By combining rigorous research with real-world know-how, we can help policymakers make the right choices in this critical public policy area,” said Abt. “I’m grateful to both the University and Arnold Ventures for providing this important opportunity.” 


Arnold Ventures, the philanthropy behind the new center focuses on pressing topics while trying to decrease rates of injustice. They base their  work on a foundation of research, deep thinking, and hard evidence. 


“With our support for the Violence Reduction Center, Arnold Ventures aims to help policymakers, law enforcement, and community organizations identify the most effective interventions to reduce violence,” said Walter Katz, Arnold Ventures vice president of criminal justice. “People in every community in the United States should feel safe in their homes, schools, and neighborhoods, and only by enacting what works can we hope to build this safer future for everyone.” 

With the University of Maryland opening the center for the Study and Practice of Violence Reduction, communities will continue to stay informed on anti-violence strategies. The center can be for federal leaders but it is also for the people, according to the UMD Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice website. 

University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines exclaims, “I am proud that this center dedicated to preserving lives and ending violence will have a home here at the University of Maryland.”