Cornyn, Peters Bill to Reauthorize Project Safe Neighborhoods Program Passes Senate Judiciary Committee
U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Gary Peters (D-MI) released the following statements after their Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act, which would reauthorize a nationwide law enforcement program that uses evidence-based and data-driven approaches to reduce violent crime, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee:
“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.”
“Project Safe Neighborhoods has been effective and improved collaboration between law enforcement and community partners – successfully reducing drug, gun violence and other violent offenses for over two decades,” said Sen. Peters. “This important program uses proven strategies to make our neighborhoods safer places to work, live, and raise a family.”
This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
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.