The U.S Department of Justice announced last week that it has awarded more than $17.5 million in grants to support the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program. Funding will support efforts across the country to address violent crime, including the gun violence that is often at its core. In the State of Georgia, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council was awarded funding totaling $532,348.
Of that funding, the Southern District of Georgia will receive $105,172. The Northern District will receive $297,151, and the Middle District will receive $130,025.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance, part of the department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), will administer the 88 grant awards, which are being made to designated fiscal agents to support local PSN projects that work in partnership with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices.
“This latest Project Safe Neighborhoods grant is critical to addressing the violent crime threatening cities and towns all across our country,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “Ensuring the safety of all Americans is the highest priority for the Department of Justice, but when it comes to violent crime, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. We have to work closely with local public safety agencies as well as community organizations to craft individual strategies unique to each community’s needs. Programs like Project Safe Neighborhoods and the funding it provides allow us to do just that.”
“The Project Safe Neighborhoods program plays a vital role in the Southern District as we collaborate with our law enforcement partners to fight violent crime and take firearms away from criminals,” said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney David H. Estes. “The funding from this PSN grant will assist our largest cities with strategies and equipment for making their communities safer.”
“These awards represent a significant commitment in the fight against violent crime and recognition of the hard work being done by law enforcement and community partners to combat gun violence,” said Kurt R. Erskine, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. “The Northern District of Georgia’s Project Safe Neighborhoods strategy focuses on prosecuting repeat violent offenders as well as supporting evidence-based programs that curb recidivism among adult and youthful offenders.”
“These grants are one element of a multi-prong approach to address violence in communities in Georgia,” said Middle District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “By offering financial support for innovative crime solutions, Project Safe Neighborhoods puts the power in the hands of local communities to fight violent crime.”
“Investing in our communities, supporting victims and building a justice system that both keeps people safe and earns their trust – these are mutually reinforcing goals that stand at the heart of Project Safe Neighborhoods,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon for OJP. “The Office of Justice Programs is pleased to join with our U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and with jurisdictions across the country, as we work together to meet the challenges of crime and violence and achieve our shared aspirations of public safety and community trust.”
In May 2021, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced a new effort to reduce violent crime, including the gun violence that is often at its core. Integral to that effort was the reinvigoration of PSN, a two-decade old evidence-based and community-oriented program focused on reducing violent crime. The updated PSN approach, outlined in the department’s Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime issued by Deputy Attorney General Monaco, is guided by four key principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence, 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.
This fall, U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country have enhanced their violent crime reduction efforts to ensure alignment with the department’s comprehensive violent crime reduction strategy. U.S. Attorneys’ Offices have engaged in outreach to law enforcement and other agencies and organizations serving communities to identify the most significant drivers of violence in their districts. Working together with a broad coalition of stakeholders, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices are addressing the most pressing violent crime issues in their district to make our neighborhoods safer for all.
PSN programs are led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in collaboration with local public safety agencies, community stakeholders and other agencies and organizations that work to reduce violent crime.