DOJ awards grants for Project Safe Neighborhoods

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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 Lansing, grant funds will support the city’s innovative public health approach to violent crime reduction. PSN money will fund the recruitment and training of staff that will develop a street outreach team. This team will intervene and provide support to individuals most at-risk of committing, and becoming victims of, violent crime.

• 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.

• The money will  develop outreach workers to mentor at-risk youth in Battle?Creek and to fund some of the victim advocate programming of the Battle Creek Police Department.

•Funds will help similar projects in Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor, and the Muskegon area.


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