Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $296,168)
The Edward Byrne Memorial Discretionary Grants Program, administered by the Office of Justice Programs' (OJP's) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), furthers the Department's mission by assisting state and local jurisdictions in improving the criminal justice system and assisting communities in preventing drug abuse and crime. In fiscal year 2007, the Edward Byrne Memorial Discretionary Grants Program will focus on funding local, regional, and national efforts within six major categories: 1) targeting violent crime; 2) preventing crime and drug abuse; 3) enhancing local law enforcement; 4) enhancing local courts; 5) enhancing local corrections and offender reentry; and 6) facilitating justice information sharing. All categories combat, address, or otherwise respond to precipitous or extraordinary increases in crime, or in a type or types of crime.
In recognition of the growing gang problem, the Office of Criminal Justice Services has implemented a five-point comprehensive crime reduction plan to reduce the growing gang problem. It includes coordination and collaboration with municipal services, faith-based groups and law enforcement leaders.
This project will focus on activities conducted by the Neighborhood Safety Working Group in cooperation with the Keep Columbus Beautiful (KCB) program promoting citizen action, education, and building strategic partnerships. KCB works on a grassroots level to implement programs including education and awareness efforts and graffiti paint-over projects.
NSWG and KBC will use Byrne funds to involve residents in conducting community improvement projects and operating Graffiti Abatement Teams. The teams record, track and remove gang graffiti within 24 hours of being reported and implement and monitor the anti-graffiti flash cam 770 system. Portable video boxes are placed in known graffiti tagging areas. Motion sensors signal video footage to be recorded, providing valuable intelligence to police and prosecutors in stopping gang graffiti. In order to facilitate the immediate collection, movement and storage of gang intelligence among agencies, NSWG uses portable hand held communication and data devices to combat gangs.
A Juvenile Activities Program operates sports programs, media libraries, games, and instruments for the youth population of the "Model Zones", a cost effective way of providing at-risk youth with alternatives to gang activity.
Gang enforcement efforts have been stepped up. Measurable data is tracked and analyzed on a regular basis to assist law enforcement in their efforts. Statistics are kept on: arrests made, cash seized, and narcotics recovered. Property crimes are recorded and mapped for evaluation purposes.
NSGW assists citizens in starting block-watch programs, civic associations and area youth commissions. It also provides Neighborhood Safety Academies in which Police Officers go into communities and teach citizens about important safety issues. Academies take place from 6-9pm, and dinner is served in order to accommodate families. Presentations are made about gangs, guns, code enforcement, and medical emergencies. Academy attendees are given workbooks containing valuable information.