The Bureau of Justice Assistance is supporting data-driven, comprehensive responses to crime in some of the country’s most troubled communities through the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program (BCJI). As the national Training and Technical Assistance Provider for BCJI, LISC is supporting cross-sector partnerships in the 29 cities funded by BCJI to date as they seek to address the drivers of crime in persistent “hot spot” locations which are thwarting progress towards neighborhood revitalization.
In neighborhoods across the country, BCJI projects work to reduce crime and improve community safety as part of a comprehensive strategy to advance neighborhood revitalization goals. Through a broad cross-sector partnership team, including residents, BCJI sites target neighborhoods with hot spots of violent and serious crime and employ data-driven, cross-sector strategies to reduce crime and violence.
In many communities, the same locations – a set of blocks or perhaps a few discrete intersections – have posed major crime problems for years, unyielding to traditional methods of law enforcement or other efforts to interrupt crime patterns. BCJI provides resources to enable leaders in those communities to closely examine the varied factors contributing to crime, to select appropriate response strategies based on evidence of what has worked elsewhere, and then to tap the resources of diverse partners as they implement those strategies.
LISC’s technical assistance is organized around several main themes that are critical to the BCJI model.
- Using data and research to guide program strategy
- Engaging community members in shaping crime prevention and revitalization efforts
- Tackling problems from multiple angles by tapping the resources of diverse, cross-sector partners
- Integrating crime control efforts with revitalization strategies
BCJI in Cleveland:
In 2013, the City of Cleveland received a Planning and Implementation grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to assist the Mt. Pleasant community carry out core BCJI initiatives. The Mt. Pleasant community has experienced a number of challenges including concentrated poverty with a 30% poverty rate and an 18% unemployment rate, over 20% vacant housing and low levels of educational attainment. In addition to socioeconomic challenges, crime trends have revealed that criminal activity is concentrated in the Mt. Pleasant community. Eleven identified gangs operate within the target area and rates of violent crime and homicides in Mt. Pleasant surpass rates for the rest of the city. From 2008 to 2012 Cleveland’s 4th Police District generated 27% of all priority one calls for service, accounted for 36% of the homicides, 36% of the shootings, and 35% of the city’s aggravated robberies. These levels of criminal activity in the Mt. Pleasant area crime are not only limited to adult populations; 30% of the juvenile warrants issued, 35% of all aggravated murders, 42% of all felony murder charges and 35% of murder charges for juvenile offenders were generated from the 4th District of the Cleveland Division of Police where the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood is located.
The Cleveland Stand Together Against Neighborhood Crime Every Day (STANCE) effort will develop a community-based strategy incorporating law enforcement, prevention, and reentry. To address the various challenges of the Mt. Pleasant community, innovative and evidence-based crime reduction programs will be implemented through a partnership with the STANCE program, police, community, and academic partners. Goals of the project are to improve community safety, support residents and other stakeholders in the design and implementation of effective approaches to address crime, and to advance neighborhood revitalization through cross-sector community-based partnerships
The BCJI project team also intends to implement a number of other strategies in conjunction with existing programs to increase the community capacity to reduce crime and violence in a sustainable way. Existing programs include;
- Defending Childhood Initiative – An initiative of Attorney General Eric Holder that strives to harness resources from across the Dept. of Justice
- P-16 program – This national program aims to add 4 years to the education of youth.
- Operation Focus - Based upon elements of the Chicago and Boston Ceasefire programs.
- Violence-Gun Reduction & Interdiction Project (V-GRIP) - A collaboration between Cleveland Police and eleven local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
- Safe Surrender – A program that offers a safe location where non-violent fugitives wanted for low-level felonies can turn themselves in.
- Operation Night Light – An innovative program where Police, Parole and Community Leaders make surprise visits to parolees and reward those who are achieving success and offer support services to those who need it.
|Key Findings Every Police Practitioner Needs to Know from Criminological Research|
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