White House Conference on Gang Prevention and Crime Control Focuses on Federal-Local Partnerships

By Karpman, Michael | Nation's Cities Weekly, September 7, 2009 | Go to article overview

White House Conference on Gang Prevention and Crime Control Focuses on Federal-Local Partnerships


Karpman, Michael, Nation's Cities Weekly


NLC and key city leaders joined Attorney General Eric Holder and Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske at a recent White House Conference on Gang Violence and Crime Control to discuss innovative strategies and federal-local partnerships for preventing crime and violence. The August 24 conference brought together nearly 200 mayors, police chiefs, foundations, researchers, community leaders, service providers and national organizations.

"We are pleased to be part of this important conference and look forward to having a dialogue with the Administration," said Donald J. Borut, executive director of NLC. "The conference provided an excellent opportunity for cities and the federal government to learn from one another and find ways to partner in collaborative crime prevention efforts."

Principles for Getting "Smart on Crime"

Attorney General Holder praised mayors and police chiefs as "innovators in the administration of justice."

"You are the people who work to make changes on the front lines," said Holder. "You are constantly refining your approach to crime. You know what works, and what doesn't work, to make our neighborhoods and communities safer. You field-test new strategies and you prove that solutions are possible to some of our most challenging crime problems."

While recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach that will work in every community, Holder highlighted five principles for getting "smart on crime": innovation, evidence-based strategies, results-driven approaches, peer-to-peer learning and collaboration. He pointed to several innovative local initiatives to illustrate how cities can apply these principles, including:

* An effort to shut down drug markets in High Point, N.C., that has reduced violent crime by 57 percent since 2004;

* Summer Night Lights, a partnership between the City of Los Angeles and community organizations to reclaim local parks from criminal activity and gang violence by providing safe nighttime activities;

* New York City's Real Time Crime Center, a centralized police department technology center that provides officers in the field with up-to-date information as they investigate a crime scene, and uses satellite and mapping technology to identify where suspects are likely to flee; and

* CeaseFire Chicago, a public health model that uses street outreach workers and "violence interrupters" to defuse conflict and prevent shooting and killings.

Holder committed to a strong federal partnership with cities on public safety, not only through recent funding increases for programs such as Community Oriented Policing Services, but also through mutual participation in federal and local task forces, providing data and research and sharing best practices. …

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