WASHINGTON – Deputy Attorney General Mark R. Filip today announced the intent to award $2 million to both Chicago and Detroit as part of an expansion of the Department of Justice’s Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative. The awards are designed to help law enforcement develop plans to combat gang violence in these cities and surrounding suburbs, and to implement their own anti-gang strategies using three components of prevention, enforcement, and prisoner reentry.
“We know that to achieve enduring success, we must address the personal, family, and community factors that cause young people to choose gangs over better, more productive alternatives,” said Deputy Attorney General Filip. “We want our young people to choose something better than gang life, and we need to do all we can to help them make that choice. But for those who don't, we need to let them know that we will not allow them to prey upon their neighbors who did make the right choice.”
Chicago and Detroit are the 11th and 12th sites to be funded under the Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative. In May 2006, the Department launched the initiative, and provided resources for prevention, enforcement and offender re-entry efforts to Los Angeles, Tampa, Cleveland, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Milwaukee and the “222 Corridor” that stretches from Easton to Lancaster in Pennsylvania. Following the success of the initiative in those areas, the Department expanded the initiative last year to Indianapolis; Oklahoma City; Rochester, N.Y. and Raleigh/Durham, N.C.
“This funding provides not only necessary resources, but the flexibility for law enforcement in the Chicago area, along with our prevention and reentry partners, to tailor their response to the gang problem here,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. “To eradicate the gang threat in our communities, the problem must be addressed at every stage and that is the approach being taken in Chicago by both law enforcement and community organizations.”
“Gang activity in our community must be stopped, and this office, along with federal, state, and local law enforcement, have pledged to eradicate gang violence in our streets.” said U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy. “This money will not only help us fight gangs, it will assist in preventing our youth from joining gang, and give those gang members who have paid their debt to society a second chance.”
The newly announced Anti-Gang grants will be allocated to address prevention, enforcement, and re-entry, including:
· Supporting comprehensive prevention efforts such as the Gang Reduction Program, which focuses on reducing youth-gang crime and violence by addressing the full range of personal, family and community factors that contribute to juvenile delinquency and gang activity.
· Supporting enforcement programs that will focus law enforcement efforts on the most significant violent gang offenders.
· Creating re-entry assistance programs with faith-based and other community organizations that will provide transitional housing, job readiness and placement assistance, and substance abuse and mental health treatment to prisoners re-entering society.
Chicago and Detroit were selected to receive grant funds based on a variety of factors, including the need for concentrated anti-gang resources, the existence of established infrastructure to support the envisioned prevention, enforcement and re-entry components, and the existing partnerships that are prepared to focus intensely on the gang problem.
The Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative complements existing Department of Justice programs to combat gangs and reduce gun-related crime throughout the country, including Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). Since 2001, the Department has allocated over $2 billion to PSN to combat violent crime at the federal, state and local levels.