GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The U.S. Department of Justice has allocated almost $191,000 to the Western District of Michigan Project Safe Neighborhoods grant for 2021.
It’s one of 88 awards issued around the country, according to a news release Thursday.
“This latest Project Safe Neighborhoods grant is critical to addressing the violent crime threatening cities and towns all across our country,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said. “Ensuring the safety of all Americans is the highest priority for the Department of Justice, but when it comes to violent crime, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. We have to work closely with local public safety agencies as well as community organizations to craft individual strategies unique to each community’s needs. Programs like Project Safe Neighborhoods and the funding it provides allow us to do just that.”
U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said the grant funding will reduce and prevent gun crime by supporting community-based prevention programs and “focused, evidence-based law enforcement efforts in areas identified as the most at-risk.”’
A committee of local prosecutors and law enforcement chiefs from Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Muskegon and Muskegon Heights chooses how to allocate the funds.
The committee has previously focused on funding programs that they say foster cooperation between law enforcement officials, community members and non-governmental organizations to prevent violence, strengthen relationships between law enforcement officials and the communities they serve and provide alternative opportunities and activities for those most at risk of becoming involved in violent crime.
Last year, the grant funded a mentorship and after-school tutoring program with the Boys & Girls Club in Benton Harbor, a faith-based mobile outreach organization operating in areas that suffer from the highest rates of violence and poverty in Lansing and a series of basketball games in which Muskegon Police Department members played alongside community members.