Peters, Cornyn Introduce Bill to Reduce Violent Crime through Project Safe Neighborhoods Program
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced bipartisan legislation to authorize funding for the Project Safe Neighborhoods program, a nationwide partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutors that uses evidence-based and data-driven approaches to reduce violent crime.
“Far too many families know the devastating toll gun violence and drug crimes can have on communities in Michigan and across the country,” said Senator 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.”
“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,” said Senator Cornyn. “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.”
Under the Project Safe Neighborhoods program, law enforcement agencies cooperate and focus their enforcement efforts on the organized criminal networks and repeat offenders who are driving the crime rates in a particular community. 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 (MSU) study funded by the Department of Justice in 2013, Project Safe Neighborhoods led to 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.
In Michigan, Detroit Project Safe Neighborhoods helped reduce gun crime in two high violent crime precincts on the westside of Detroit. In 2015, Saginaw received a Project Safe Neighborhoods grant to support a partnership between the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, the Saginaw Community Foundation, the Michigan State Police and Saginaw Police Department, Saginaw Valley State University and the Child Abuse and Neglect Council of the Great Lakes Bay Region. According to the Research Partner Final Report, the program helped the City of Saginaw dramatically reduce violent crime like homicides and robberies.
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 Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act of 2018 is supported by a broad coalition of groups including the Police Offices Association of Michigan, the Saginaw Community Foundation, 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, and the National Criminal Justice Association.
“As the largest professional law enforcement organization in Michigan, the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM) supports our members in their shared dedication to provide fair and effective crime control. POAM is pleased that Senator Peters and his colleagues are introducing legislation that establishes the Project Safe Neighborhoods Block Grant Program. When resources are available that enable our officers to enhance their ability to prevent crimes, engage with communities and implement strategic, long-term plans, it is a win-win for all. We look forward to working with the Senator’s office to support this legislation and continue to engage with all levels of government to promote opportunities to improve Federal, State, and local partnerships to fight crime,” said Jim Tignanelli, POAM President.
“Project Safe Neighborhoods has played a vital role in drastically reducing violent crime in the city of Saginaw,” said Renee Johnston, President and CEO of the Saginaw Community Foundation. “Thanks to the program’s funding, we’ve provided our families with improved safety and security, while strengthening our community’s relationship with local law enforcement. We thank Senator Peters for his work to provide steady funding to support continued collaboration between federal, state, and local agencies to prevent crime and focus on fighting Saginaw’s most violent criminals.”
“Research consistently demonstrates that violent crime is highly concentrated among a small group of repeat offenders who are highly concentrated in a small number of places. The power of PSN comes through using research and analysis to identify these concentrations of violence, creating federal-state-and local partnerships, and using evidence-based strategies of enforcement and prevention to focus on the drivers of violence at the local level,” said Dr. Edward McGarrell. Professor, School of Criminal Justice and Director of the Michigan Justice Statistics Center at MSU
A companion bill sponsored by U.S. Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10) unanimously passed the House of Representatives last month.
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