DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCES $75 MILLION TO HELP FIGHT VIOLENT CRIME
Funding Will Support State and Local Law Enforcement Task Forces
WASHINGTON – Acting Deputy Attorney General Craig S. Morford today announced the award of $75 million in Department of Justice grants to help fight violent crime in communities across the country. The awards, made as part of the Department's Violent Crime Reduction Partnership, will bring together state and local law enforcement agencies as part of violent crime task forces. Funding will help the task forces design crime-fighting strategies and carry out activities such as street investigation and intelligence gathering. Morford announced the awards at the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
"For too many Americans, violent crime has a grip on the communities where they live, work, and go to school," said Acting Deputy Attorney General Morford. "The Violent Crime Reduction Partnership will speed relief to those cities experiencing some of the highest levels of violent crime. These funds will allow communities to develop effective, custom solutions to solve the unique issues facing their communities."
The Violent Crime Reduction Partnership is coordinated by the Bureau of Justice Assistance in the Department's Office of Justice Programs, and stems from a series of meetings with law enforcement and community leaders to explore the incidence of crime in cities throughout the United States. Beginning in fall 2006, Department officials visited 18 cities to find out what was behind both the increases and the decreases in crime rates observed for 2005. The most recent report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report (UCR) shows that the overall crime rate in 2006 was at its lowest point in more than 30 years, but that the rate of violent crime increased by 1 percent. UCR data is based on crime reported to 17,000 city, county, state, tribal, federal, and university and college law enforcement agencies nationwide, and it records property crimes as well as murders, forcible rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults.
According to the UCR, the rate of violent crime in 2006 varied widely by region and city population. For example, while the violent crime rate rose in the Midwest, it declined in the Northeast. In their tour of cities, Department officials found that some of the causes of the increases differed from city to city, but observed several common themes, such as the presence of loosely organized street gangs and the prevalence of youth violence.
The Violent Crime Reduction Partnership complements Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), an effort led by the Department of Justice to prevent and prosecute gun and gang crime. In September, the Department awarded more than $50 million in PSN grants and unveiled a new public service campaign aimed at educating youth about the impact of gun crime and gang violence. In addition, the Department's FY 2008 budget request includes $200 million for Violent Crime Reduction Partnership grants and more than $13 million for other violent crime-related enhancements.