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Fact Sheet: Department of Justice Efforts to Stop Gang Violence in America’s Communities

“The effects of violence and gang activity reverberate beyond individuals, beyond a single perpetrator or a single victim. When a young man is murdered, an entire community feels the loss. When a young girl is raped, an entire neighborhood is violated.”

-- Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, 2/15/06

At the direction of the Attorney General, the Department has taken several important steps to address gang violence.  First, the Department established an Anti-Gang Coordination Committee to organize the Department’s wide ranging efforts to combat gangs.  Second, each United States Attorney has appointed an Anti-Gang Coordinator to provide leadership and focus to our anti-gang efforts at the district level.  Third, the Anti-Gang Coordinators, in consultation with their local law enforcement and community partners, have developed comprehensive, district wide strategies to address the gang problems in their districts.  All of the Department’s law enforcement components are engaged in a coordinated effort to combat gang violence.

GangTECC, National Gang Intelligence Center, and Gang Squad

Through GangTECC, the National Gang Intelligence Center, and Gang Squad, the Department has established national coordination, intelligence and enforcement mechanisms aimed at dismantling the most significant, violent, national and regional gangs. 

Six Site Comprehensive Anti-Gang Program

In March 2006, the Attorney General  announced six sites that would receive $2.5 million in grants as part of a new comprehensive initiative that focuses on reducing gang membership and gang violence through enforcement, prevention and re-entry strategies.  These sites are:  Los Angeles, Tampa, Cleveland, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Milwaukee, and Pennsylvania’s 222 Corridor. The initiative includes the following measures:

Project Safe Neighborhoods

In May 2001, President Bush announced Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a comprehensive initiative to reduce gun crime in America by linking together federal, state and local law enforcement, prosecutors and community leaders. The Attorney General has recently expanded the PSN initiative as part of the Department’s anti-gang efforts.

Weed and Seed Initiative

The Weed and Seed Program is a community-based multi-agency approach to law enforcement, crime prevention, and neighborhood restoration.  “Weeding” consists of law enforcement and community policing; and “seeding” consists of efforts designed to prevent, intervene, and treat crime, and social and economic distress. There are over 300 Weed and Seed sites, and in FY 2006, over 200 communities received Weed and Seed funding.

International Cooperation

The Department also works with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State and our international partners to fight gangs that operate both in the United States and other countries and to ensure that illegal aliens who are gang members are prosecuted and/or removed from the United States. 

Department of Justice Task Forces

In addition to the Attorney General’s Department-wide Anti-Gang Initiative, each of the Department’s components work with state and local law enforcement on specific programs to curb the threat of gang violence nationwide. These include:

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Efforts

Drug Enforcement Administration Efforts

Federal Bureau of Investigation Efforts

Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCEDTF)

U.S. Marshals Service

Prevention and Public Awareness

In addition, the Department has developed a wealth of resources and community policing solutions to help law enforcement and communities address the problem of gangs. These resources include guides for police on topics such as graffiti, bullying in schools, gun violence among youthful offenders, and witness intimidation; comprehensive gang prevention model programs; quick reference cards for parents in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Hmong; multi-site evaluations of gang programs; innovations documents on network analysis and jail information-gathering; and a Solutions to Address Gang Crime CD-ROM available free to the public containing DOJ anti-gang related resources and tools.