DOJ awards grants for Project Safe Neighborhoods

GRAND RAPIDS—United States Attorney Andrew Birge announced Jan. 28 that the Department of Justice has awarded a total of $152,430 in Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) grant funds to local partners for the year 2021.

The PSN grant program works to reduce and prevent violent crime by supporting a combination of community-based violence prevention programs and law enforcement efforts in specific geographic areas in our district, identified as the most at-risk through data collection and analysis. The PSN grant program seeks to improve both citizen security and community-police engagement. With that goal in mind, a committee of local law enforcement leaders worked closely with their local communities to determine how to distribute these federal funds.

In Western Michigan, a committee of local prosecutors and law enforcement departments from Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Muskegon collectively worked with community members and non-governmental organizations to focus this funding on violence prevention, building strong community-law enforcement relationships, and providing alternative opportunities for those who might engage in violent crime. This year the PSN committee awarded grant funding to a diverse set of projects, including community-based violence intervention programs as well as intelligence-led policing initiatives.

• In Grand Rapids, the grant money will be used to support the development of a Violent Crime Intelligence Team (VCIT). The VCIT is a dedicated team of detectives, patrol officers, and crime analysts that investigate gang activity and gun violence in the city.

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