Menendez, Lautenberg Announce Funding to Combat Gang and Drug Violence in New Jersey

Menendez, Lautenberg Announce Funding to Combat Gang and Drug Violence in New Jersey

Washington - Today, U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) announced that the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety and the City of Trenton will receive a total of $383,551 in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to finance two local law enforcement and public safety programs.

The New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety will sponsor Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program intended to reduce gun crime and link local programs. The City of Trenton will fund the Greater Donnelly Weed and Seed site, a neighborhood in the North Ward of Trenton that provides resources to reduce violent and drug-related crimes, prevent gang activity and improve coordination between Federal, state and local agencies.

"Through this investment, we can help law enforcement crack down on gangs and crime, protecting our families and keeping communities safe," said Menendez. "These programs will combat gang and drug violence, increase community policing, and create safe drug-free environments, which in turn, will reduce instances of juvenile crime."

"This federal funding will help law enforcement throughout the state get tougher on gangs and gun crime in our neighborhoods," stated Lautenberg. "We are also providing continued funding for an important community initiative in Trenton that is working to reduce crime, increase services and improve neighborhoods."

The $383,551 in funding will be distributed as follows:

$ 226,551 - New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety

Project Safe Neighborhoods - Through comprehensive, coordinated and community-based initiatives, Attorney General Paula Dow will lead the project. PSN seeks to achieve heightened coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement; and emphasizes tactical intelligence gathering, more aggressive prosecutions, and enhanced accountability through performance measures.

The New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, which serves as the fiscal agent for the project, will use the grant to combat both gun and gang crime. The prosecutor's offices for the counties of Camden, Essex, Hudson, and Mercer will each use the grant to fund an assistant prosecutor who will spend their time dedicated to the prosecution of PSN cases.

In addition, Mercer and Passaic Counties will support a juvenile PSN component, selecting high-risk juveniles (gang affiliated or violent crime offenders) to receive enhanced supervision through partnerships with police, probation, and parole officers. The targeted juveniles will be placed in an intensive case management system that provides individualized social services.

$157,000 - City of Trenton

The Greater Donnelly Weed and Seed Site
- The North Ward Neighborhood in the City of Trenton gained official recognition in June 2006. This is the site's fifth and final award to implement its strategy to reduce violent and drug-related crimes in the area. The project supports law enforcement efforts that improve coordination between Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, while reducing gang activity.

According to the DOJ, Community policing goals include reducing residents' fears in regards to increased police involvement and activities in the neighborhood and reducing the incidence of youth crimes in the designated area. Prevention, intervention, and treatment goals include developing and expanding opportunities for youth to access a safe and secure drug-free environment within the Greater Donnelly multiservice Safe Haven. Neighborhood restoration goals include improving opportunities for homeownership, business development, and land redevelopment.

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