Department Cites Success in Combatting Violent Crime; Bureau of Justice Assistance Director Announces $28 Million in Grants to Improve Public Safety
The Department of Justice today renewed its commitment to reducing violent crime in America, holding its third annual National Public Safety Partnership Symposium.
The National Public Safety Partnership provides a framework for enhancing federal support of state, local and tribal law enforcement officials and prosecutors as they investigate and pursue violent criminals, specifically those involved in gun crime, drug trafficking and gang violence.
“The National Public Safety Partnership is a hallmark program of this administration,” said Katharine T. Sullivan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Department’s Office of Justice Programs. “It effectively works to reduce violent crime, a priority of both Attorney General Barr and President Trump.”
Jon Adler, Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance – which oversees the partnership program – announced $28 million to provide training and technical assistance to designated partnership sites, as well as to support law enforcement-led and prosecution-based crime reduction efforts in cities across the nation. Funds will also support crime gun intelligence centers in eight sites across the country. These centers focus on the immediate collection, management and analysis of crime gun evidence, such as shell casings, in real time, in an effort to identify violent criminals, disrupt criminal activity and prevent future violence.
“These funds are just the tip of the spear to help law enforcement develop and implement innovative – and proven – strategies to help increase public safety,” said Adler. “In coming weeks, the Justice Department will continue to announce funding awards to communities in support of law enforcement’s commitment to drive down violent crime, aid crime victims and improve justice systems.”
This year’s symposium, which lasts through Sept. 11, brings together more than 400 law enforcement leaders, prosecutors and other officials representing 17 of 41 partnered cities across the U.S. Law enforcement officials from the tristate area surrounding Memphis are also attending.
In June, Attorney General William P. Barr announced the addition of 10 cities and counties to the National Public Safety Partnership, which provides advanced training and technical assistance to cities and counties with elevated rates of violent crime.
“The addition of 10 more partnered sites this year is another critical step in fulfilling President Trump’s commitment to reducing violent crime in America,” said Adler. “The three-year engagement between the Department and each partnered city allows agencies to respond to the diverse needs within their jurisdictions by streamlining access to federal resources for those communities most affected by violent crime.”
To date, the Justice Department has worked with more than 40 cities under the National Public Safety Partnership (PSP) program. Many participating cities have already seen dramatic reductions in violent crime. For example, in Memphis, carjackings decreased 43 percent year-to-date, from March 2018 to March 2019. Additionally, collaboration between the Memphis Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to process cold-case sexual assault kits resulted in the conviction of a sexual predator in May 2019 who was responsible for kidnapping and raping six women, and attempting to kidnap and rape a seventh, over a period of seven years.
"The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee is proud to participate in the National Public Safety Partnership Initiative here in Memphis and Jackson, Tennessee,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant. “PSP has allowed us to receive meaningful federal resources of law enforcement training and technical assistance in an innovative framework to enhance data-driven, evidence-based local strategies for violence reduction. The good work of the PSP team stakeholders, including the commitment to targeted enforcement by our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, has resulted in significant reductions in the violent crime rate in key categories, such as business robbery, carjacking and reported gun crimes. We are thankful for all of these resources from the Department of Justice, and we are committed to the continued effective use of these PSP tools to further reduce violent crime in the future."
Other PSP sites have achieved notable successes, as well. For example, New Orleans, Louisiana, ended 2018 with its lowest number of homicides since the early 1970s. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, homicides declined in 2018 for a third straight year after hitting a peak in 2015.
In addition to local law enforcement and prosecutorial leaders from the participating PSP sites, components in attendance at this year’s symposium include: the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services; the Office of Justice Programs; the Office on Violence Against Women; the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The Justice Department created the National Public Safety Partnership and the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety in response to President Trump’s Feb. 9, 2017, Executive Order charging the agency with leading a national effort to combat violent crime. The Department announced the formation of the National Public Safety Partnership initiative in June 2017.