Press Release

Rep. Cuellar Delivers $435,020 in Federal Funds to TAMIU’s Research on Gang Violence

Washington | Charlotte Laracy, DC Press Secretary (202-226-1583); Alexis Torres, District Press Secretary (956-286-6007), September 23, 2020
Tags: Education

Laredo, TX—Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) announced $435,020 in federal funds to Texas A&M International University (TAMIU). This funding, awarded through the National Institute of Justice’s Investigator-Initiated Research and Evaluation on Firearm Violence grant program, will be used to map the networks of gang violence in New Jersey and investigate the role of firearm violence within conflicts.

“Gangs are one of the biggest threats to public safety in communities across the country,” said Congressman Cuellar. “This federal investment will allow TAMIU to conduct critical research on the workings of gang violence and their use of firearms, which will inform policy and support law enforcement. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fund programs that protect our neighborhoods from violent crime, so we all have the opportunity to live safety. I want to thank President of TAMIU Dr. Pablo Arenaz, Dean of College Dr. Claudia San Miguel, Assistant Professor and Project Investigator Dr. Jared R. Dmello, and Provost and VP for Academic Affairs Dr. Tom Mitchell for conducting valuable research that will influence policymakers and law enforcement throughout the United States.”

“We thank Congressmen Cuellar for his leadership in helping to secure this important Department of Justice grant.  We are tremendously proud of our opportunity to share Texas A&M International University’s research caliber and expertise with the fine people of New Jersey. The scope of this research is profound and we believe it will be of considerable interest to policymakers across our nation,” said Dr. Pablo Arenaz, president.

TAMIU’s research will explore the structural evolution of inter-group conflict over time, accounting for changes in the victimization of non-gang affiliated community members. Specifically, the University will work to answer two questions:

  1. To what extent does gang use of firearms spillover into public space and terrorize communities?
  2. Among gangs, is the use of firearms imbalanced, and if so, to what extent does networked gun violence vary based on the characteristic of the offending group?  

The researchers will also examine gang networks through a geospatial lens in order to better understand the diffusion of violence throughout New Jersey from urban areas to more rural areas.

Dr. Jared Dmello, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at TAMIU, will lead the study as the Principal investigator.  In collaboration with University of Massachusetts-Lowell and California State San at Bernardino, Dr. Dmello will bring in TAMIU graduate and undergraduate students to help with the research project. The research team will record podcasts to discuss the research findings.