Founded in 2016, the Allegheny County Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) takes a public health approach to gun violence, including creating a framework based on why gun violence occurs, what causes it, and its consequences on individuals and neighborhoods.
With this structure in place, people who work in public health can better understand the risk factors that lead to gun violence and take steps to stop them through prevention programs, policy interventions and advocacy.
Working with the Department of Human Services and the City of Pittsburgh, the OVP partners with stakeholders that have similar goals, such as other government offices, as well as non-profit, neighborhood and faith-based groups.
The OVP is led by a violence prevention community advisory board, which oversees:
- A trauma response group that supports psychological and emotional well-being for people who are affected by violence.
- A street outreach team that focuses on preventing potential conflict.
- The distribution of micro-grants that help to pay for violence-prevention strategies in at-risk neighborhoods.
The office receives financial support from the Heinz Endowments and is tasked with putting into action the items in the Public Health Commission report from 2013.
Did you know? Homicide impacts everyone.
According to research conducted by Everytown for Gun Safety and Support Fund, the cost of gun violence in the U.S. totaled $557 billion, of which $12.6 billion was paid by taxpayers.
These costs are broken into three groups:
- Immediate costs: Hospital treatment, ambulances and police response
- Future costs: Long-term physical and mental health care, institutional care, lost wages due to disability or death and criminal justice costs
- Quality of life costs: Pain and suffering throughout a victim’s life
In Allegheny County, the 61 homicides that happened in 2022 cost the state approximately $750 million and taxpayers about $46 million. (Source: OVP: Consequences of Gun Violence)
For more information on gun violence impact in Pennsylvania, check out Everystat.org.