DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $24 MILLION IN FUNDING TO PROMOTE ANTI-GANG INITIATIVE
ORLANDO, FLA. - The Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today announced more than $24 million to support a school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curriculum through the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program (G.R.E.A.T.) and highlighted OJP anti-gang initiatives at the National Youth Gang Symposium.
"Eliminating the threat of gangs to our families and our communities means intervening and preventing gang membership among our youth, while enforcing laws to protect our citizens," said Tracy A. Henke, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. "The Department of Justice is committed to supporting a unified community approach, which includes partnerships at every level of society to combat gang violence."
The G.R.E.A.T. Program, administered by OJP's Bureau of Justice Assistance, includes funding to support a curriculum that aims to prevent youth violence and gang involvement in elementary and middle schools by developing positive relationships with law enforcement, families and youth. The G.R.E.A.T. Program consists of four components: a 13-week middle school curriculum, a six-week elementary school curriculum, a summer program, and family training. Five regional training centers provide training to sworn law enforcement officers to certify them to teach the G.R.E.A.T. curriculum in elementary and middle schools across the country. Regional training centers are located in Phoenix, Ariz.; Orange County, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; Philadelphia, Penn.; and LaCrosse, Wis.
The Office of Justice Programs is the primary sponsor of the National Youth Gang Symposium, which attracts representatives from law enforcement, juvenile and family courts, juvenile corrections, schools, faith-based and community-based organizations, and social service agencies. The symposium provides a venue for open discussion about innovative and successful gang-related programs and strategies, including prevention, intervention, suppression strategies, and trends from top national experts.
The Office of Justice Programs provides national leadership in a variety of anti-gang efforts. In 1994, OJP's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) established the National Youth Gang Center (NYGC) to expand and maintain information about youth gangs and develop effective responses. In addition to conducting research and analysis, the NYGC provides training and assistance to OJP-funded projects and hosts the National Youth Gang Symposium.
The Gang Reduction Program (GRP) was launched by OJJDP in four communities in 2003 as a pilot to test multi-disciplinary, community-based approaches in response to gangs. GRP's primary goal is to reduce youth gang crime and violence in communities through an integrated application of proven practices in primary prevention, secondary prevention, gang intervention, gang suppression, and reentry. The GRP sites are targeted communities of limited geographic area, approximately five square miles, which are characterized by significant existing program investment, strong indicators of citizen involvement, and high crime and gang activity. The four sites are located in East Los Angeles, Calif.; Milwaukee, Wis.; North Miami Beach, Fla.; and Richmond, Va.
The Office of Justice Programs also previewed several upcoming gang-related reports and research. Violence by Gang Members, 1993-2003, from OJP's Bureau of Justice Statistics, presents data based on the National Crime Victimization Survey to estimate the number and rate of violent crimes committed by offenders that victims perceived to be members of gangs. The report provides data about the proportion of violent crime committed by street gangs, the type of violent crime most likely to be gang related and the extent to which gang-related violent crimes are reported to the police. Publication is scheduled for the end of June.
A publication from OJP's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) includes Highlights of the 2002-2003 National Youth Gang Surveys, which summarizes the National Youth Gang Survey findings for 2002 and 2003. It includes data on the number of gangs, gang members, and gang-related homicides in urban, suburban, and rural areas. This report will be available the end of June.
OJP's National Institute of Justice also funds research on gangs and gang-related crime. A recently funded examination of police responses to gang problems, Specialized Gang Units: Form and Function in Community Policing, describes the specific gang-control activities carried out by gang units in Indianapolis, Ind. and San Diego, Calif. The research focused on the functions and activities of gang units, the development of gang-control policies, and measures to determine attainment of policy goals. The report is available at www.ncjrs.org.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist 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 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 strategy and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.