Cornyn, Peters Introduce Authorization of Project Safe Neighborhoods Program to Reduce Violent Crime

U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and I recently introduced the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act of 2018 to authorize a nationwide law enforcement program focusing on the reduction of violent crime. A companion bill sponsored by U.S. Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10) unanimously passed the House of Representatives last month.  

For over a decade, Texas has successfully reduced crime rates, in part through state-wide law enforcement task forces initiated when I was Attorney General that focused on prosecuting the most violent and repeat offenders. Using the Texas program as a model, Project Safe Neighborhoods gives federal, state, and local law enforcement the support they need to take a proactive and collaborative approach to prevent violent crime in our communities.

“Far too many families know the devastating toll gun violence and drug crimes can have on communities in Michigan and across the country,” said Sen. Peters. “Using data-driven strategies, Project Safe Neighborhood has improved collaborations between law enforcement and community partners to successfully reduce gun and drug related violence in Michigan communities. I’m proud to work with Senator Cornyn on this bipartisan bill that will strengthen this proven program and help ensure communities and law enforcement can work together to make their neighborhoods safer places to live by providing resources to intervene and prevent violence.”

Background:

Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutors that uses evidence-based and data-driven approaches to reduce violent crime. Under Project Safe Neighborhoods, multiple law enforcement agencies cooperate and focus their enforcement efforts on the organized criminal networks and repeat offenders that are driving the crime rates in a particular region. Project Safe Neighborhoods also works to build trust and partnerships between law enforcement and the communities they serve through coordinated outreach, public awareness, innovative tactics, and collaborative interventions. Since its inception in 2001, Project Safe Neighborhoods has been successfully deployed by both Democratic and Republican administrations to reduce violent crime in large cities and smaller communities across the country. According to a Michigan State University study funded by the Department of Justice in 2013, Project Safe Neighborhoods was associated with a 13.1% decrease in violent crime in cities with a high-rate of program participation—including double-digit reductions in total firearms crime and homicides in every city examined by the study.

Specifically, the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act of 2018:

·         Authorizes the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program for Fiscal Years 2019-2021 at $50 million—consistent with current appropriations levels.

·         Requires participating entities to creates and implement strategic plans to reduce violent crimes by focusing on criminal organizations and individuals responsible for increasing violence in a particular jurisdiction.

·         Prioritizes the investigation and prosecution of individuals who have an aggravating or leadership role in a criminal organization.

·         Strengthens evidence-based and data-driven intervention and prevention initiatives, including juvenile justice projects, street-level outreach, conflict mediation, the provision of treatment and social services, and improving community anti-violence norms.

·         Reserves 30% of funding for established regional law enforcement task forces

·         Allows funds to be used for the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program, evidence base programs to reduce gun crime and gang violence, community-based violence prevention initiatives, and violence education, prevention, and intervention programs.

The following organizations support Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act of 2018: the Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, the Major County Sheriffs of America, the National District Attorneys Association, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the National Criminal Justice Association, and the National Narcotic Officers' Associations' Coalition.

 

 

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