INDIANAPOLIS– Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today joined U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks of the Northern District of Indiana and Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson to announce the expansion of the Justice Department’s Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative to include Indianapolis as one of four additional sites targeting dangerous street gangs and promoting prevention efforts to keep communities and neighborhoods safe. As part of the Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative, Indianapolis will receive $2.5 million in additional grant funding to combat gang violence.
“Keeping neighborhoods safe from gang violence and protecting youth from increased gang involvement are priorities of the Department of Justice,” stated Attorney General Gonzales. “Through strong partnerships, federal, state and local law enforcement, educators and community leaders in Indianapolis are working together to combat gang violence. The Justice Department’s Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative will help to bolster these efforts by providing additional resources to increase law enforcement and prevention efforts, making Indianapolis a safer community.”
Indianapolis is one of four target areas chosen to receive additional funding as part of the Department’s initiative to combat gang violence, including Oklahoma City, Rochester, N.Y., and Raleigh/Durham, N.C. 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.
“At all levels of government, we in Indianapolis are working to reduce violent crime and target gangs and neighborhood groups who cause the violence in our community,” said U.S. Attorney Brooks. “We also want to ensure young people understand the dangers of joining gangs. This grant can help us make a huge difference in funding programs in schools, community centers and faith-based organizations.”
In February 2006, Attorney General Gonzales announced the creation of the Justice Department’s Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative, designed to support law enforcement in combatting 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 for prevention, enforcement and offender re-entry efforts to six sites across the nation: Los Angeles, Tampa, Cleveland, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Milwaukee and the “222 Corridor” that stretches from Easton to Lancaster in Pennsylvania. 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 resulted in 63 federal and state indictments. Fifty-five defendants have pled guilty and the remainder are awaiting trial.
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. Second, ensure robust enforcement policies when gang-related violence does occur.
Indianapolis 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. U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks will work with state, local and community partners in Indianapolis to implement strategies that address the following areas:
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, under which the number of federal firearms prosecutions has more than doubled in the past six years, compared to the six years prior to PSN’s implementation. Since 2001, the Department of Justice has allocated over $1.6 billion to PSN to combat violent crime at the federal, state and local levels.