newsgrant funding announced to support reduction of gun and gang violence

Grant funding announced to support reduction of gun and gang violence

Crystal Graham

More than $320,000 is available in grant funding for Project Safe Neighborhoods initiatives, U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh announced today.

This funding opportunity will assist in implementing comprehensive, collaborative and community-based approaches to reducing violent crime in the Western District of Virginia using a wide range of effective violent crime reduction strategies.

The grants program is just one component of the multi-faceted efforts the U.S. Attorney’s Office has implemented in Danville, Roanoke City/County region, and Lynchburg.

The grant money, distributed in partnership with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, will allow eligible organizations to support a broad range of activities to reduce gun and gang violence.

Programs should address deterrence efforts aimed at potential offenders, the implementation of evidence-based programs and proven enforcement strategies to prevent and reduce gun and gang crimes, and/or the prosecution of significant firearm, controlled substance, and violent crime offenses.

“These funding opportunities will be used by local organizations who are doing important work at the grassroots level to reduce violence in our neighborhoods,” said Kavanaugh. “Project Safe Neighborhoods continues to be the major source of funding for many of these organizations and we look forward to sharing more information about those partnerships in the future.”

In May 2021, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced a new effort to reduce violent crime, including the gun violence that is often at its core. Integral to that effort was the reinvigoration of PSN, a two-decade old evidence-based and community-oriented program focused on reducing violent crime.

The updated PSN approach, outlined in the department’s Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime issued by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, is guided by four key principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results of our efforts.

The fundamental goal is to reduce violent crime, not simply to increase the number of arrests or prosecutions.

This funding opportunity is open to state and local law enforcement agencies, governmental entities, educational institutions, and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations who are located in, or have the ability to serve, those areas.

Applicants are expected to use the funds to support the WDVA’s PSN pillars, which include community engagement, prevention and intervention, focused and strategic enforcement, and accountability.

To select and administer its PSN grant funds, the United States Attorney’s Office will select community members to serve as members of an independent grants committee. The committee will be composed of individuals from the Danville, Lynchburg and Roanoke areas with experience in community outreach, law enforcement or who are otherwise qualified to fairly review and assess applications that will help achieve our PSN goals.

None of the committee’s members will be current federal employees, and no member will be eligible to apply for or receive PSN funding.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office encourages those eligible organizations to apply for grant assistance by visiting the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services website.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.