ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCES AWARDS TO COMBAT
KANSAS CITY, MO. - Emphasizing the Bush Administrationís commitment to a safe America, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced today more than $43 million in grants to combat gun crime in Americaís communities. These grants are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, an initiative that links federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement, prosecutors, and communities in a comprehensive approach to deterring and punishing gun-related crimes.
"Nothing is more important to our quality of life than a safe environment for our families," said Attorney General Ashcroft. "These awards support President Bushís promise to make our nationís neighborhoods more safe by vigorously enforcing gun laws and preventing and deterring gun crime."
The Attorney General made the grant announcement at the third annual Project Safe Neighborhoods: Americaís Network Against Gun Violence (PSN) Conference. The grants, administered by the Office of Justice Programsí (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance, support a comprehensive approach to reducing gun crime in America. PSN initiatives include building effective local partnerships; using research tools to assist with guiding and measuring the impact of local strategies; providing comprehensive training; conveying the initiativeís priorities, message, and results to the community and the media; and building productive coalitions with citizens.
The grants are provided to task forces in 92 federal judicial districts. The U.S. Attorney in each of the districts, working with local law enforcement and other officials, has tailored the PSN strategy to fit the unique gun crime problem in that district. Criminals who use guns are prosecuted under federal, state or local laws, depending on which jurisdiction can provide the most appropriate punishment. Each district engages in deterrence and prevention efforts through community outreach and media campaigns, and ensures that law enforcement and prosecutors have the training necessary to make the program work.
The Bush Administration has devoted more than $1 billion to PSN in its first four years (FY 2001 -2004). The funds have been used to hire new federal, state and local prosecutors, provide training, hire research and community outreach support, and develop and promote effective prevention and deterrence efforts.
Community engagement initiatives are also supported by OJPís Community Capacity Development Office in the 300 Weed and Seed sites throughout the country. Weed and Seed strategies, which are also coordinated by U.S. Attorney offices, create community partnerships to revitalize neighborhoods in areas challenged by high crime rates. Strategies for reducing crime in Weed and Seed sites in turn incorporate Project Safe Neighborhoods programs.
A reference for the PSN awards is located on www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA. Additional information about PSN and its local programs is available on the PSN website at www.psn.gov.
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides federal leadership in developing the nationís capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist crime victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and two offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education, and the Community Capacity Development Office which incorporates the Weed and Seed program. Information about OJP programs, publications, and conferences is available on the OJP website, www.ojp.usdoj.gov.