Peters, Cornyn Project Safe Neighborhoods Bill to Reduce Violent Crime Headed to President’s Desk

WASHINGTON- Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill introduced by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and John Cornyn (R-TX), the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act of 2018, which would authorize a nationwide law enforcement program focused on the reduction of violent crime. The bill passed the Senate unanimously in May, and a previous version of the bill unanimously passed the House of Representatives in March. 

“Communities across Michigan have been shattered by gun violence and drug crimes, and we need proven, data-backed strategies to combat these and other violent offenses,” said Senator Peters. “I’m pleased the House approved this important bill that helps build on the successful collaborations between Project Safe Neighborhoods, local law enforcement and community partners to reduce violence and build safer communities.”

“Partnerships between federal, state, and local law enforcement, something I implemented as Texas Attorney General, are an effective way to reduce crime rates and protect our communities,” said Senator Cornyn. “The Project Safe Neighborhoods program helps law enforcement at all levels across the country to investigate and prosecute the most dangerous and repeat offenders.”

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, trauma-informed 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.