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Press Release

Justice Department Awards More Than $17.5 Million to Support Project Safe Neighborhoods

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Over $300,000 awarded for projects in the District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins announced today that the Department of Justice has awarded $306,279 to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) to administer Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) grant funds in the District of Massachusetts.

The grant funding awarded to EOPSS will support community efforts to address the epidemic of gun crime and serious violence in Massachusetts and is one of a number of awards being made to state and local agencies across the country. Funds are administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), part of the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP). PSN funds in Massachusetts are administered by the Office of Grants and Research (OGR), a state agency within EOPSS. Since the program began in 2001, over $7 million in federal grant funds have been allocated to the District of Massachusetts’s violent crime reduction efforts.

Launched two decades ago as an evidence-based and community-oriented response to serious gun crime, PSN is a key component of the Department’s Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime. While the initiative was first launched in 2001, the Department strengthened the program in May 2021, as outlined by Deputy Attorney General Monaco. The PSN approach is guided by four key principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities; supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place; setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities; and measuring the results of our efforts. The fundamental goal is to reduce violent crime, not simply to increase the number of arrests or prosecutions.

“As U.S. Attorney, my number one priority is making our communities safer. Our mission is not simply to prosecute crime, we must prevent it – which is exactly why my office continues to prioritize violent crime reduction efforts through the PSN initiative,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Under my administration, the District of Massachusetts has added two additional target cities (Holyoke and Lowell) to our PSN initiative (Boston, Brockton, Lawrence, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester), giving them access to critical federal funding and invaluable resources to reduce violent crime in their neighborhoods. This includes providing funding for the purchase of gunshot detection technology in Holyoke, Lawrence and Lowell. As we have seen recently with the tragic double shooting resulting in the murder of a 14-year-old child in Boston, and the murder suicide in Kingston, this work of reducing gun violence is vitally important. My office remains committed to doing the hard work of mending and fostering community relationships and investing in community-based initiatives in our fight against violent crime in our Commonwealth.”

“Project Safe Neighborhoods has a long tradition and proven track record of fostering strong collaborations between federal, state and local partners to improve how we serve communities impacted by violence. These grants allow our Office of Grants and Research to direct resources in a way that drives impactful change for communities across the Commonwealth” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy. “I am grateful for the leadership of US Attorney Rachael Rollins and her office as we continue to collaborate on efforts to reduce and prevent violence.”

“Reducing violence and sustaining those reductions will require strong partnerships between criminal justice agencies and community stakeholders and a shared commitment to the safety and well-being of every community member,” said OJP Deputy Assistant Attorney General Maureen Henneberg. “The investments we are making through Project Safe Neighborhoods will enable every stakeholder to play a part in building safer and healthier communities.”

“Over its two-decade history, Project Safe Neighborhoods has evolved to meet the complex challenges of community violence by enlisting the insights and expertise of local partners and by relying on the latest evidence,” said BJA Director Karhlton F. Moore. “We are proud to support our U.S. Attorneys and their allies in their critical work to curb violent crime and build the mutual trust necessary to ensure lasting success.”

PSN programs are led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in collaboration with local public safety agencies and community organizations. The programs’ emphasis on community engagement, prevention and intervention measures, focused and strategic enforcement and measurement and accountability has helped achieve overall reductions in violent crime, including gun homicides, in neighborhoods where PSN strategies have been implemented. The District of Massachusetts established an extensive network of law enforcement and community partners who have been fundamental to this strategy’s success in eight target cities: Boston, Brockton, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester.

The distribution of grant funds to target cities across the state has enabled communities and organizations to implement programming focused on after-school activities, education, employment, re-entry for returning citizens, law enforcement/community collaboration, and public service outreach projects, among others.

In Massachusetts, PSN projects include:

  • Developing and sustaining community/law enforcement partnerships and strengthening their capabilities in targeted communities across the state by maximizing federal resources;
  • Collaborating with state and local law enforcement on violent crime and illegal firearm prosecutions;
  • Providing training for nearly 4,500 law enforcement personnel and community members on topics such as advancements in technology, empowering neighborhoods on addressing gang prevention; updates on new innovative community programs and partnerships; and officer safety training;
  • Supporting community partners and outreach programs to address reentry barriers for returning citizens and empower youth to resist gang recruitment; and
  • Formulating tools to measure the performance of projects funded with PSN and other federal grants.

The awards announced above are being made as part of the regular end-of-fiscal year cycle. More information about awards under PSN and other OJP grants can be found on the OJP Grant Awards Page.

 The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law.  More information about OJP and its components can be found at  www.ojp.gov.

Updated October 17, 2022