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Crime Prevention's Role in the Administration's Neighborhood Policy

The administration's neighborhoods strategy clearly includes education, human services, and housing, all three of which are elements of either Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, or both. It looks like the administration is positioning crime prevention and criminal justice as part of the mix, too. If this is the case, Promise and Choice Neighborhood grant applicants may want to consider exploring these areas in the context of their own projects.
Last month, when HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan testified before Congress about the Choice Neighborhoods program (insert link to previous story), he also mentioned that HUD was working the Department of Justice (DOJ) to coordinate a proposed $40 million DOJ initiative called the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program. (The grant is not to be confused with the existing Byrne Competitive, Discretionary, and Justice Assistance Grants that DOJ already funds.) This new program will provide demonstration grants to public safety efforts in communities across the country. The funding was included in the president's proposed budget for FY 2011 and would expand upon the existing $20 million Weed and Seed program run by the Community Capacity Development Office (CCDO) (insert link) in DOJ's Office of Justice Programs.
Already active in over 250 communities, the Weed and Seed program is a partnership between the DOJ, local law enforcement authorities, and community organizations that takes an integrated approach to crime reduction and prevention. Although Weed and Seed project sites vary in size, its neighborhood focus will serve as a blueprint for the Byrne Program. Taking a two-pronged focus, it targets offenders and “weeds” out criminal activity while planting “seeds” of neighborhood revitalization. These goals are accomplished through law enforcement, community policing, prevention, intervention and treatment, and neighborhood restoration.
In addition to facilitating partnerships between police and local residents, the initiative supports community participation by bolstering prevention and treatment services on the neighborhood level. Community participants in Weed and Seed are encouraged to establish Safe Havens, which work with local nonprofit service agencies providing childcare, afterschool programs, tutoring, recreation, parenting courses, drug prevention programs, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, family counseling, and medical care. This ties in with closely with Promise Neighborhoods, especially since these place-based multiservice efforts are housed in schools and community centers.
According to the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the CCDO, Laurie Robinson, who testified before Congress last week:
Consistent with the White House’s leadership on innovative, interagency approaches to place-based policies, we are currently exploring potential opportunities to partner with the Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods program, as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhoods program. HUD Secretary Donovan gave us a bit more detail in March, when he said the department will support "communities in reducing crime through collaborative, community-based and evidence-based approaches that also strengthen neighborhood revitalization efforts."
In short, we have had several indications that crime prevention will play an important role in the Promise and Choice Neighborhoods program, but the administration is still working out the details. While that doesn't tell us much, at the very least it suggests that local groups applying for the Promise and Choice Neighborhoods programs should be thinking about crime. Some local efforts to replicate the HCZ have already targeted crime prevention as a key factor in their place-based strategies. For example, Orlando’s Parramore Kidz Zone initiative identified juvenile crime rates as a key indicator for success at the program’s launch. Since then city officials have touted the decrease of juvenile arrest rates as a testament to the program’s success.
The latest in a series of commitments to place-based strategies on the federal level, the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program should be able to provide Promise Neighborhoods with additional support in their comprehensive neighborhood revitalization efforts.
The administration's neighborhoods strategy clearly includes education, human services, and housing, all three of which are elements of either Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, or both. It looks like the administration is positioning crime prevention and criminal justice as part of the mix, too. If this is the case, Promise and Choice Neighborhood grant applicants may want to consider crime prevention as part of their applications.

Last month, when HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan testified before Congress about the Choice Neighborhoods program, he also mentioned that HUD was working the Department of Justice (DOJ) to coordinate a proposed $40 million DOJ initiative called the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program. (The grant is not to be confused with the existing Byrne Competitive, Discretionary, and Justice Assistance Grants that DOJ already funds.) This new program will provide demonstration grants to public safety efforts in communities across the country. The funding was included in the president's proposed budget for FY 2011 and would expand upon the existing $20 million Weed and Seed program run by the Community Capacity Development Office (CCDO) in DOJ's Office of Justice Programs.

Already active in over 250 communities, the Weed and Seed program is a partnership between the DOJ, local law enforcement authorities, and community organizations that takes an integrated approach to crime reduction and prevention. Although Weed and Seed project sites vary in size, its neighborhood focus will serve as a blueprint for the Byrne Program. Taking a two-pronged focus, it targets offenders and “weeds” out criminal activity while planting “seeds” of neighborhood revitalization. These goals are accomplished through law enforcement, community policing, prevention, intervention and treatment, and neighborhood restoration.

In addition to facilitating partnerships between police and local residents, the initiative supports community participation by bolstering prevention and treatment services on the neighborhood level. Community participants in Weed and Seed are encouraged to establish Safe Havens, which work with local nonprofit service agencies providing childcare, afterschool programs, tutoring, recreation, parenting courses, drug prevention programs, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, family counseling, and medical care. This ties in closely with Promise Neighborhoods, especially since these place-based multiservice efforts are housed in schools and community centers.

According to the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the CCDO, Laurie Robinson, who testified before Congress last week:

Consistent with the White House’s leadership on innovative, interagency approaches to place-based policies, we are currently exploring potential opportunities to partner with the Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods program, as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhoods program.

HUD Secretary Donovan gave us a bit more detail in March, when he said the department will support "communities in reducing crime through collaborative, community-based and evidence-based approaches that also strengthen neighborhood revitalization efforts."

In short, we have had several indications that crime prevention will play an important role in the Promise and Choice Neighborhoods program, but the administration is still working out the details. While that doesn't tell us much, at the very least it suggests that local groups applying for the Promise and Choice Neighborhoods programs should be thinking about crime. Some local efforts to replicate the HCZ have already targeted crime prevention as a key factor in their place-based strategies. For example, Orlando’s Parramore Kidz Zone initiative identified juvenile crime rates as a key indicator for success at the program’s launch. Since then city officials have touted the decrease of juvenile arrest rates as a testament to the program’s success.

The latest in a series of commitments to place-based strategies on the federal level, the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program should be able to provide Promise Neighborhoods with additional support in their comprehensive neighborhood revitalization efforts.

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