Cities and towns should be getting ready to apply for $424 million in direct federal anti-crime and violence assistance that will be available soon through the new law enforcement formula block grant program (see The Weekly, 5/27/96.)
Most communities will receive application kits from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) of the Department of Justice within the next week to ten days. The kits will include an easy-to-use one-page application form and a comprehensive list of allowable program activities. All applications for funds must be returned by August 9, 1996, and funds will be awarded by September 30, 1996.
The new program, a top legislative priority of the National League of Cities for the last several years, provides cities with a flexible way to address a broad range of public safety concerns, especially those related to the prevention of crime and violence. Under this program, local leaders will be able to prioritize their local public safety needs and--based on a broad list of permitted uses--fund one or a combination of those needs.
Cities may, for example use block grant funds to establish crime prevention programs involving cooperation between community residents and law enforcement personnel to control, detect, or investigate crime or prosecute criminals. Funds also can be used to establish or support drug courts and establish multi-jurisdictional task forces to prevent and control crime, which may be especially beneficial to rural areas.
Permitted uses also include hiring and training additional law enforcement officers and support personnel, the payment of overtime for officers and support personnel, the purchase of law enforcement equipment and technology, and measures to improve security at schools and other facilities. Finally, cities and towns may use funds to improve the adjudication and processing of cases involving violent offenders, including juveniles.
Cities and towns accepting grant funds would be required to provide a ten percent cash match. Matching funds may be provided from state and local government funds, Community Development Block Grant funds, Appalachian Regional Development Act monies, Equitable Sharing Program (federal assets forfeiture distributions) funds, and private sector resources. No waivers of the matching requirement will be granted. Cities looking for good ideas and model programs to combat crime and violence may wish to look at some of the resources available from the National League of Cities, the National Crime Prevention Council and the U.S. Department of Justice. All three organizations have a variety of .hooks, videos, and other materials on successful local crime prevention programs.
National Institute of Justice (U.S. Department of Justice)
The NIJ is a component of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), and the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC).
OJP has a broad range of information and publications on anti-crime and violence prevention programs. These documents are available through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) and through "NCJRS Online," which features an electronic bulletin board system, accessible via modem as well as the Internet. Cities can use NCJRS for ordering and downloading criminal
NIJ also sponsors PAVNET. the Partnerships Against …