Cornyn, Colleagues Introduce Reauthorization of Project Safe Neighborhoods Program to Reduce Violent Crime


In: All News   Posted 09/15/2022
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WASHINGTON- Today, U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act of 2022 to reauthorize a nationwide law enforcement program focusing on the reduction of violent crime.

“The Project Safe Neighborhoods program has been proven to reduce violent crime in cities that participate by focusing law enforcement efforts on organized crime networks and repeat offenders,” said Sen. Cornyn. “By fostering partnerships between federal, state, and local law enforcement to address these criminal threats, we can take a more proactive approach to protecting our communities from violent criminals.”

“Violent crime has skyrocketed in cities and communities across the country, and Project Safe Neighborhoods has given law enforcement important resources to fight back,” said Sen. Cruz. “I’m proud to work with my Texas colleague John Cornyn to help state and local police officers, prosecutors, and communities work together to combat violence and bring criminals to justice.”

“Crime and gun violence is a nationwide problem that must be met with a whole-of-government response,” said Sen. Feinstein. “Project Safe Neighborhoods has proven to be one of the most effective ways to bring communities and every level of government together to prevent crime. I want to thank Senator Cornyn for leading this bipartisan effort to renew this important program through 2026.”

“For the past two decades, Project Safe Neighborhoods has successfully enabled law enforcement officers to fight crime through local, state and federal collaboration,” said Sen. Grassley. “Reauthorizing this critical grant program will ensure communities receive the resources needed to reduce dangerous crime in our communities, and these resources are especially important as we face a national violent crime wave.” 

“Far too many families have experienced the devastating toll that gun violence and drug crimes can have on a community,”said Sen. Peters. “Using proven, data-driven strategies, Project Safe Neighborhood has effectively improved collaboration between law enforcement and community partners for over two decades – and has successfully reduced drug, gun violence and other violent offenses in communities in Michigan and throughout the country. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan legislation with Senator Cornyn to continue support for this vital program – and help ensure we continue working together to make our neighborhoods safer places to work, live, and raise a family.”

“Arizona communities should be safe – free of violence and crime,” said Sen. Sinema. “Our bipartisan legislation supporting the Project Safe Neighborhoods program will reduce violence, protect communities, and help ensure Arizona families are safe and secure.”

“We are seeing an increase in crime across our country, and now is the time for Congress to act,” said Sen. Tillis. “This legislation provides much-needed support to local law enforcement to combat crime and map overdose patterns in our communities. I am proud to work on this commonsense legislation to create safer neighborhoods for future generations.”

Background:

Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutors that uses evidence-based and data-driven approaches to reduce violent crime. Under Project Safe Neighborhoods, multiple law enforcement agencies cooperate and focus their enforcement efforts on organized criminal networks and repeat offenders that are driving the crime rates in a particular region. Project Safe Neighborhoods also works to build trust and partnerships between law enforcement and the communities they serve through coordinated outreach, public awareness, innovative tactics, and collaborative interventions. Since its inception in 2001, Project Safe Neighborhoods has been successfully deployed by both Democratic and Republican administrations to reduce violent crime in large cities and smaller communities across the country. According to a Michigan State University study funded by the Department of Justice in 2013, Project Safe Neighborhoods was associated with a 13.1% decrease in violent crime in cities with a high rate of program participation—including double-digit reductions in total firearms crime and homicides in every city examined by the study. The 2018 authorization of the program passed the Senate unanimously.

Specifically, the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act of 2022:

  1. Authorizes the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program for Fiscal Years 2023-2026 at $50 million—consistent with current appropriations levels.
  2. Requires participating entities to create and implement strategic plans to reduce violent crimes by focusing on criminal organizations and individuals responsible for increasing violence in a particular jurisdiction.
  3. Prioritizes the investigation and prosecution of individuals who have an aggravating or leadership role in a criminal organization.
  4. Strengthens evidence-based and data-driven intervention and prevention initiatives, including juvenile justice projects, street-level outreach, conflict mediation, the provision of treatment and social services, and improving community anti-violence norms.
  5. Reserves 30% of funding for established regional law enforcement task forces.
  6. Allows funds to be used for the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program, evidence base programs to reduce gun crime and gang violence, community-based violence prevention initiatives, and violence education, prevention, and intervention programs.
  7. Improves communities’ ability to respond to opioid overdoses by promoting the hiring and training of law enforcement officials and data analysts to swiftly investigate and identify drug dealers connected to overdoses.

The following organizations support Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act of 2022: Fraternal Order of Police, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association, National Association of Police Organizations, Major County Sheriffs of America, National District Attorneys Association, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, and National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition.