(STL.News) – United States Attorney Richard W. Moore today announced more than $990,000 in Department of Justice grants to fight and prevent violent crime in the Southern District of Alabama. The grants, awarded by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs, are part of more than $458 million in funding to support state, local and tribal law enforcement efforts to combat violent crime in jurisdictions across the United States.
“One of the fundamental missions of government is to protect its citizens and safeguard the rule of law,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “The Department of Justice will continue to meet this critical responsibility by doing everything within its power to help our state, local and tribal law enforcement and criminal justice partners fight crime and deliver justice on behalf of all Americans.”
The funding announced today continues the Trump Administration’s commitment to reducing crime and improving public safety. In the two years before President Trump took office, America had experienced a precipitous rise in crime, particularly in serious violent crime. The President elevated community safety to the top of his domestic agenda and crime rates have fallen steadily since. Recent data from the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics for 2019 show a drop in crime and serious victimization for the third year in a row. However, a number of cities are experiencing conspicuous countertrends. Today’s grants will bolster crime-fighting efforts in those communities and in jurisdictions throughout the United States.
“Violence has become a tragic reality in too many of America’s communities,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “Working with officials across the Trump Administration and with thousands of state, local and tribal crime-fighters across the country, the Department of Justice is leading the response to this urgent challenge. OJP is pleased to make these resources available to support innovative, tested and diverse solutions to violent crime.”
United States Attorney Moore said, “While we have made great strides in reducing violent crime in Selma, much of that progress has been on the ‘weeding’ side and not the ‘seeding’ side. We cannot arrest or prosecute our way out of Selma’s violent crime problem. Law enforcement continues to make Selma safer by removing the most violent trigger-pullers from the community, but we must have community-based programs that target the root of criminal behavior which is poverty, unemployment and the lure of local criminal gangs. I am extremely pleased to announce that the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation has been awarded a Bureau of Justice Assistance grant in the amount of $992,237 to reduce gang violence in Selma. Unfortunately, we have seen over the years that gang members engage in violent retaliation against rival gang members with innocent citizens often caught in the crossfire. This is a national problem that has been addressed successfully in other cities by programs that aggressively confront the dynamics of street violence and redirect gang members’ anger and provide alternatives to gun violence. The Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation, under the direction of Ainka Jackson, will be implementing intervention strategies that are modeled after the Nonviolence Institute in Providence, R.I. The model includes education and employment assistance, as well as victim services. The Weed and Seed Board in Selma will be working closely with this program as we continue to coordinate the work of our law enforcement partners to make a better Selma.”
Of the more than $458 million awarded nationwide, OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance made 1,094 grants totaling more than $369 million to support a broad range of initiatives, including efforts in enforcement, prosecution, adjudication, detention and rehabilitation.
OJP’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention awarded more than $10 million across 24 jurisdictions to intervene in and suppress youth gang activity as well as $1 million to the Institute for Intergovernmental Research to continue operating the National Gang Center. OJP’s National Institute of Justice awarded $7.8 million to fund research and evaluation on the prevention and reduction of violent crime. OJP’s Bureau of Justice Statistics provided more than $69 million to strengthen the quality and accessibility of records within the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.