Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Department of Justice Awards Funding to Enhance Communities’ Ability to Improve Safety in Distressed Neighborhoods

Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Director Denise E. O’Donnell today announced more than $11 million in awards to address neighborhood-level crime in 15 locations nationwide. The awards, administered through the department’s new Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) program, will target locations or neighborhoods with significant levels of crime compared to the overall jurisdiction. Today’s announcement includes a $600,000 award to the Center for Court Innovation (CCI) focused on the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. BJA Director O’Donnell was joined by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta E. Lynch, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, and Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes in making the announcement.   

BCJI is a part of the Obama Administration’s larger Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI) that helps local and tribal communities develop place-based, community-oriented strategies with coordinated federal support to change neighborhoods of distress into neighborhoods of opportunity.  BCJI is a data driven approach, leveraging research and innovation to identify the drivers of crime in a location and to develop multi-faceted strategies to reduce it.  BCJI will also develop the ability – through training and technical assistance - of the community to more effectively target these issues. Led by the Administration’s Domestic Policy Council, the NRI brings together the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Health and Human Services and Treasury to align federal programs supporting neighborhood revitalization and to implement interagency pilot programs. 

“While overall crime rates have continued to decline nationwide, some neighborhoods have experienced troubling increases in specific types of criminal activity which is why the Department and our partners are providing additional resources to communities that need them the most,” said Attorney General Holder.  “With today’s announcement, we reaffirm our commitment to relying on comprehensive, data-driven approaches for ensuring public safety – and investing in innovative strategies for protecting the American people from crime.”

Earlier this year, BJA awarded, through an agreement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), $2 million in Public Safety Enhancement grants to HUD’s Choice Neighborhood grantees in Boston, Chicago, New Orleans and San Francisco.  These enhancement grants, also coordinated through NRI, are helping to transform public and assisted housing projects to respond to serious, pervasive public safety concerns in distressed neighborhoods.

“Community safety plays a vital role in neighborhood revitalization,” said OJP Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary. “These awards are targeting persistently distressed neighborhoods that require interconnected solutions in order to resolve their interconnected problems.” 

BCJI awards are made to applicants consisting of a cross-sector partnership, including units of local government, criminal and juvenile justice agencies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized Indian tribal governments. This year, BCJI selected the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to serve as the national training and technical assistance provider for the new BCJI grantees. LISC will assist with an analysis of the crime in each community, engage residents and provide ongoing support to ensure the sites effectively use data, research and innovation to develop a comprehensive crime strategy.  

“In times of limited resources, community leaders need tools and information about crime trends in their jurisdiction and support to assess, plan and implement the most effective use of criminal justice resources to address priority crime issues,” said BJA Director O’Donnell. “BCJI incorporates research and effective enforcement and intervention strategies as part of a comprehensive approach to help the community build protective factors to provide a long-term deterrence to future crime.” 

The Brownsville BCJI project is called The Brownsville Anti-Violence Project and is a partnership that includes the Center for Court Innovation; the King’s County District Attorney’s Office; the New York City Police Department; the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York: the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision; the Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District; the Brownsville Partnership (consortium of service providers); and local residents. 

For more information on BJA’s Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program, please visit: www.bja.gov

For more information about the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, please visit:   www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/nri_description.pdf.

OJP is headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary and provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s ability to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. For more information about OJP and its components, please visit: www.ojp.gov.

12-1155