The Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) Program, formerly the Innovations in Community-Based Crime Reduction (CBCR) program, supports data-driven, comprehensive, and community-oriented strategies to reduce crime in neighborhoods with hot spots of crime. Through a broad cross-sector partnership team, including neighborhood residents, BCJI grantees employ a wide range of crime prevention and intervention strategies to address the conditions, including physical conditions, which contribute to crime in these areas.
The BCJI model is based on the principle that sustainable reductions in crime require collaboration among partners in the criminal justice system, service providers, and the communities they serve. These partnerships extend to community development corporations and private businesses that are linked to BCJI in local revitalization efforts.
The BCJI Program approach centers on four core elements:
- Place-based strategy: Target where crime is concentrated and enhance the impact of crime control efforts with locally driven neighborhood revitalization strategies
BCJI grantee sites target a specific geographic area within their community with high levels of crime or types of crime in order to most effectively direct resources and to positively influence multiple social disorganization factors such as concentration of high risk residents, limited infrastructure, and neighborhood physical conditions. Crime reduction efforts often include addressing physical conditions that increase the risk for crime by seeking to harden these targets through assessments and review of land use, code enforcement, and nuisance laws.
- Community Engagement: Increase community and resident engagement in shaping and sustaining crime prevention and revitalization efforts
In BCJI, residents and neighbors, alongside law enforcement and criminal justice system partners, are key to keeping communities safe. To catalyze and sustain change, there must be active involvement and leadership by neighborhood residents throughout the process. Understanding residents’ views of neighborhood change is critical. Engaging in community-oriented strategies should be driven by local data and needs, and should comprehensively address critical issues.
- Data and evidence driven: Improve the use of data and research to problem solve and guide program strategy
BCJI grantee sites work with local law enforcement and community stakeholders (including local nonprofit organizations) to conduct a broad examination of crime drivers in hot spots and then consider appropriate evidence-based and or innovative strategies to address them. Collaborative local partnerships, which often include research partners, can help a community to assess the program’s implementation and intended impacts, as well as assess gaps in services, strategies, and partners. Law enforcement agencies are required to serve as the lead or a partner on developing strategies and support for crime hot spot and other data analysis to inform the BCJI approach.
- Build Partnerships and Enhance Trust: Build capacity to promote sustainable collaborations that tackle problems from multiple angles
A strong set of partners and trust between them and community residents is critical for implementing comprehensive strategies in high crime neighborhoods. BCJI sites work to strengthen cross-sector partnerships and to build and enhance trust among them so they can effectively work with residents.
Two Phase Process
BCJI projects involve two phases:
- The first is the Action Plan Development, or Planning, phase. In this phase, the cross-sector partners collaborate closely on identifying crime hot spots. The partners collaborate with local law enforcement to conduct an analysis of crime drivers and an assessment of needs and available resources. The partners then identify the range of crime prevention and reduction strategies they want to pursue during the implementation phase. To complete the planning phase, the partners must submit an Action Plan to BJA for approval that serves as a roadmap for implementing strategies. This strategy describes: the specific hot spots and crime drivers; use of various data sources to understand and prioritize crime hot spots; and a direct link between the strategies proposed and the crime drivers analyzed. The plan also demonstrates the criminal justice nexus for the strategies that are linked with revitalization and justifies innovative strategies or strategies based on the site’s theory of change and/or logic model.
- The second phase is the Implementation phase where the partners implement the strategies identified in the approved Action Plan. In this phase, the partners continue to convene regular meetings with cross-sector partners, research partners, and the management team. The partners also identify and develop a sustainability strategy for longer-term implementation of BCJI Program core principles, including the active role of neighborhood residents.
Goals, Objectives, and Program Approach
To achieve BCJI program goals, successful BCJI cross sector teams commit to accomplishing the following objectives (these objectives may vary depending upon the type of BCJI grant award):
- Convene, lead, and meaningfully engage a broad cross-sector partnership team that must include law enforcement, other criminal justice partners, neighborhood residents, and relevant community stakeholders. Communities are also strongly encouraged to include a research partner or research team as part of the cross-sector team.
- Target communities with a concentration of chronic hot spots of crime, which can include violent and serious crime and/or drug related crime.
- Address crime issue(s) that must represent a significant proportion of crime or type of crime within the larger community or jurisdiction.
- Employ a range of data-driven, cross-sector strategies (enforcement, prevention, and intervention) connected with revitalization efforts to reduce crime and violence.
- Establish effective partnerships both to provide solutions and commit resources to sustain what works.
- Work closely with the BCJI TTA provider to implement a comprehensive and coordinated strategy.
- Assess program implementation in collaboration with research partners, and plan for sustainment of effective strategies with private and public state, local, and tribal funding.
The BCJI Program is part of BJA's Smart Suite of programs. These programs invest in the development of practitioner-researcher partnerships that use data, evidence, and innovation to create strategies and interventions that are effective and economical. See the Smart Suite page for more information about programs and related resources.