Justice Department Awards $5.1 Million To Curb Gangs, Reduce Gun Violence

Sep 25, 2013, 15:00 ET from Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Under the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a component of the Office of Justice Programs, has awarded $5.1 million to 16 communities to create safer neighborhoods through reducing crime associated with gang and gun violence over the long term.  

"PSN is a strategy for combating gun violence and gang crime that builds on the latest research, community partnerships, strategic planning, training, outreach and accountability.  The U.S. Attorneys, in PSN sites, work side-by-side with local law enforcement and other officials to tailor the PSN strategy to fit the unique gun crime problems in that district," said BJA Director Denise E. O' Donnell.

According to a National Institute of Justice evaluation of PSN, found that violent crime in PSN cities declined by 4.1 percent compared to non-PSN target cities where the decline was only 0.9 percent. When Federal and state prosecution tactics are targeted and synchronized, the Federal districts experienced a 13.1 percent decline in violent crime compared to an increase of 7.8 percent violent crime in low Federal prosecution districts.

The program's effectiveness is based on the cooperation of local, state and federal agencies engaged in a unified approach led by the U.S. Attorney (USA) in each district.  The USA is responsible for establishing a collaborative PSN task force of local, state and federal law enforcement and other community members to implement gang and gun crime enforcement, intervention, and prevention initiatives within the district.  "Coordinating local and Federal prosecution strategies and engaging community partners is key to reducing crime and making our neighborhoods safer. These awards will help build and enhance the capacity of communities to employ data-and research driven strategies to address gun and gang violence issues," said O'Donnell.

The  16 awardees and districts are:  California Emergency Management Agency (Northern District of California); Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (Northern District of Ohio); Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (Northern District of Illinois); Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (Western District of Washington); Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention (District of Maryland); Safe City Commission (Northern District of Texas); City of Chattanooga Comprehensive Gang Task Force (Eastern District of Tennessee); New Mexico Department of Public Safety (District of New Mexico); Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance (Western District of Wisconsin); City of Omaha, Neb. (District of Nebraska); Justice Grants Administration (District of Columbia); Hoyleton Youth and Family Services (Southern District of Illinois); City of Memphis (Western District of Tennessee); state of Maine (District of Maine); Public Safety Grant Administration Office (District of Rhode Island) and City of Erie Police Department (Western District of Pennsylvania).

More information on President Obama's plan to reduce gun violence is available at: www.whitehouse.gov/issues/preventing-gun-violence.

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims.  OJP has six components:  the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking.  More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.

SOURCE Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs