Cornyn, Colleagues Introduce Reauthorization of Project Safe Neighborhoods Program to Reduce Violent Crime
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Gary Peters (D-MI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and Chris Coons (D-DE) today introduced the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act to reauthorize a nationwide law enforcement program that uses evidence-based and data-driven approaches to reduce 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.”
“For over two decades, ProjectSafe Neighborhoods has been effective and improved collaboration between law enforcement and community partners – successfully reducing drug, gun violence and other violent offenses in Michigan and across the country,” said Sen. Peters. “I’m proud to lead this bipartisan legislation with Senator Cornyn to support this important program, so we can continue to work together to make our neighborhoods safer places to work, live, and raise a family.”
“Skyrocketing rates of violent crime are causing terrible suffering for Americans in communities across the nation. We can’t allow criminals to continue to run roughshod over our justice system and wreak havoc upon law-abiding citizens,” said Sen. Grassley. “I’m proud to sponsor this comprehensive approach to fighting crime, which includes a provision in honor of fallen Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Jim Smith. We owe it to our constituents and law enforcement officers to pass this bill immediately.”
“Our Project Safe Neighborhoods program will reduce violence, protect communities, and give Arizona families peace of mind by bringing together law enforcement partners at all levels to identify and address crime in our communities,” said Sen. Sinema.
“Communities are seeing an increase in crime across our country, and Congress needs 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.”
“As a former prosecutor, I have seen firsthand that keeping our communities safe from violent crime requires close coordination between local, state, and federal partners,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This bipartisan legislation would bring together leaders at all levels to address violent crime, from combating carjackings to reducing gun violence. I will continue to work with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to make sure this vital program is reauthorized.”
“I am proud to join my colleagues to continue our effort to make American communities safer by providing law enforcement with the resources necessary to protect our citizens,” said Sen. Cruz. “It is imperative that we continue fostering this collaboration with law enforcement at all levels and support their relationship with our communities, both in the Lone Star State and beyond.”
“Today, communities across our country are facing a growing crime wave that’s putting more violent offenders and dangerous opioids on our streets,” said Sen. Fischer. “I’m proud to support this commonsense legislation to reauthorize the Project Safe Neighborhoods program, which has a proven track record of reducing violent crime and protecting communities. In the Senate, I’ll continue advancing legislation that invests in law enforcement and public safety.”
“As co-chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, I know how important effective partnerships between local, state, and federal law enforcement are for protecting our communities,” said Sen. Coons. “Project Safe Neighborhoods is a bipartisan, commonsense grant program that builds trust between law enforcement and the people they serve by developing and deploying evidence-based violence reduction initiatives. I am glad to reauthorize this effective program, and I call on my colleagues to swiftly pass this legislation to keep our communities and families safe.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) also cosponsored this legislation.
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 this program, law enforcement agencies focus their enforcement efforts on organized criminal networks and repeat offenders that drive 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. This included double-digit reductions in total firearm crimes and homicides in every city examined by the study.
Specifically, the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act of 2023:
- Authorizes the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program for Fiscal Years 2024-2028 at $50 million – consistent with current appropriations levels.
- 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.
- Prioritizes the investigation and prosecution of individuals who have an aggravating or leadership role in a criminal organization.
- 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.
- Reserves 30% of funding for established regional law enforcement task forces.
- 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.
- 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.
This legislation is endorsed by the 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.