The City of New Bedford is receiving a grant in the amount of $382,068 for 2017, to help at-risk youth avoid getting involved in gangs.

The grant, which comes through the Senator Charles E. Shannon, Jr. Community Safety Initiative, was also brought to New Bedford through Project H.O.P.E. It was part $5.7 million in competitive grant funds given to 15 communities and 11 local research partners across the state to combat gang violence.

Lt. Amos Mello of the New Bedford Police Department told WBSM News the grant helps police reach those young people either already in gangs, or leaning toward joining one.

"If we can prevent them from getting into gangs or prevent our murder rate from going up higher, we've accomplished what we want to accomplish," he said.

Melo noted New Bedford has received the grant for about the last 10 years, and that getting it in 2017 will allow services already in place to continue uninterrupted.

"Every life we can save from gang-involved violence, then we're doing what we're supposed to be doing," he said.