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Deputy Attorney General Mark R. Filip Announces Implementation Of Grant Funding For The Raleigh/Durham Compehensive Anti-Gang Site

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2008

Raleigh/Durham to Receive $2.5 Million to Combat Gang Violence and Increase Prevention Efforts as Part of Justice Departments Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative

Raleigh-Durham Deputy Attorney General Mark R. Filip today joined U.S. Attorneys George E.B. Holding and Anna Mills Wagoner, as well as Durham Mayor William V. Bell and Chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners Joe Bryan, to announce the implementation and roll out of grant funding for the Raleigh/Durham Comprehensive Anti-Gang Site. In April 2007, the Department announced the expansion of the Justice Department=s Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative to four additional sites targeting dangerous street gangs and promoting prevention efforts to keep communities and neighborhoods safe. Raleigh/Durham was chosen as one of the sites. Raleigh/Durham will receive $2.5 million in additional grant funding to combat gangs and gang violence.

Keeping our neighborhoods safe from gangs and gang violence is one of the highest priorities of the Department of Justice, said Deputy Attorney General Mark R. Filip. Through strong partnerships with our state and local partners and community leaders in initiatives such as the Raleigh/Durham Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative, we are developing integrated localized efforts in the areas of prevention, enforcement and prisoner re-entry. Through these efforts, we are striving to make sure that our communities and children are safe from gang violence. I applaud the efforts of the fine people in the Raleigh/Durham area who work to make their community a better place to live.

Raleigh/Durham is one of four target areas chosen to receive additional funding as part of the Department=s initiative to combat gang violence, including Indianapolis, Rochester, N.Y., and Oklahoma City. Supported by $2.5 million in grant funds per site, the Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative incorporates prevention and enforcement efforts, as well as programs to assist released prisoners as they re-enter society. By integrating prevention, enforcement and prisoner re-entry, the Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative aims to address gang membership and gang violence at every stage.

No single strategy, no single agency or group, will solve the problem of gangs and gang violence in our communities. This grant recognizes the significant work that has already been done by many dedicated people in government, law enforcement, social service agencies and community groups to forge partnerships that can mount a coordinated, multi-tiered assault on the gang problem, said U.S. Attorney Wagoner. AWe are grateful to these individuals and agencies for their hard work, and grateful to the Department of Justice for providing vital support for our ongoing efforts to implement, evaluate, and refine strategies which combat gang activity and make our neighborhoods safer.

The initiative the Deputy Attorney General announced today is an important, comprehensive step in our effort to combat gang activity and gang violence. Combining efforts to prevent crime with the strong lead of enforcement, we are looking at making an effort to control and eliminate problems in the Raleigh/Durham area, said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina George E.B. Holding. AWorking with our federal, state and local partners, we will target those who have been involved in gang activity and will seek to prevent others from joining their ranks.

Announced in February 2006, the Department=s Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative is designed to support law enforcement in combating violent gang crime while also promoting prevention efforts that discourage gang involvement. As part of the initiative, in May 2006 the Department provided anti-gang resources to six sites across the nation: Los Angeles; Tampa, Fla.; Cleveland; Dallas/Ft. Worth; Milwaukee and the A222 Corridor that stretches from Easton to Lancaster, Pa. The Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative has already made strides in the original six sites. For example, in Cleveland, one of the most violent gangs operating in the target area has been dismantled through both federal and state investigations and prosecutions that have resulted in 168 federal and state convictions. By the end of 2007, homicides in the target area were down by approximately 39 percent, and violent crimes were down by approximately 15 percent.

The Justice Department=s strategy to combat gang violence around the nation is two-fold: first, prioritize prevention programs to provide America=s youth, as well as offenders returning to the community, with opportunities that help them resist gang involvement; and second, ensure robust enforcement policies when gang-related violence does occur.

Already, programs such as the Adopt-a-School Initiative and Community Success Initiative in the Raleigh/Durham area are providing the type of prevention and re-reentry assistance that the new federal funds may support.

Raleigh/Durham was selected to receive these grant funds based on a variety of factors, including the need for concentrated anti-gang resources, established infrastructure to support the envisioned prevention, enforcement and re-entry components, and existing partnerships prepared to focus intensely on the gang problem. Building on the existing prevention and re-entry programs, U.S. Attorneys Anna Mills Wagoner and George E.B. Holding will work with state, local and community partners in Raleigh/Durham to implement strategies that address the following areas:

  • Prevention - The Department will make available approximately $1 million in grants to support comprehensive prevention efforts such as the Adopt-A-School Initiative which allows churches and their congregations to adopt schools, providing tutoring and mentoring while promoting an anti-gang, anti-drugs, pro-school message.
  • Enforcement - The Department will make available approximately $1 million in grants to help support enforcement programs that will focus law enforcement efforts on the most significant violent gang offenders.
  • Prisoner Re-entry - The Department will make available approximately $500,000 to create 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.

The Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative complements existing Department of Justice programs to combat gangs and reduce gun-related crime throughout the country. Those programs include the Violent Crime Impact Teams, Safe Streets Task Forces and the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative. From FY 2001 through FY 2007, the Department filed 68,543 cases against 83,106 defendants B a more than 100 percent increase in cases filed versus the previous seven year period. Since 2001, the Department of Justice has allocated more than $2 billion to PSN to combat violent crime at the federal, state and local levels.

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