Money to be used for crime prevention and enforcement
The United States Department of Justice awarded the City of Cleveland a $1 million grant aimed at improving the Mount Pleasant neighborhood by expanding crime prevention programs, continuing targeted enforcement efforts and increasing programs for people returning to the neighborhood from prison, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
The city was informed this week that it is a recipient of a $1 million Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program. The money will be disbursed over three years. Cleveland is one of only five cities to receive a full $1 million grant.
“This grant recognizes that improving public safety is about the people living in our neighborhoods and is a result of our longstanding, comprehensive approach and strong partnerships. It will support Cleveland Police and our law enforcement partners as they target violent crime, but it will also support a wrap-around approach for residents so that they have opportunities to choose a better life,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “I want to thank the Department of Justice for the grant and their continued partnership.”
“This money will allow us to expand a decade-long partnership between law enforcement, community leaders and social-service providers,” Dettelbach said. “These programs allow us to work together to prevent crime and to help those returning home from prison, instead of simply trying to arrest our way out of the crime problem.”
“Community engagement is a crucial part of the solution,” said Michael L. Walker, executive director of the Partnership for a Safer Cleveland. “Making arrests in and of itself will not prevent violent crime. We’re trying to work with community organizations to develop solutions the community can take ownership of.”
The grant will target the Mount Pleasant neighborhood on Cleveland’s southeast side, running along Kinsman Avenue between Lee Road and East 93rd Street.
Among the programs earmarked for funding through the grant:
- The continuation of the VGRIP gun suppression efforts, in which Cleveland police and federal agents work together to crack down on gun violence, often leading to federal prosecution of felons illegally in possession of firearms.
- The expansion of Stand Together Against Neighborhood Crime Everyday (STANCE), which will work with Mount Pleasant residents and community stakeholders to design and implement comprehensive prevention and reentry efforts, such as Operation Night Light (police and community leaders make surprise visits to parolees, training for those returning from prison) and Operation Focus (counseling, assessments, call-ins, coaching and service delivery).
- A Fugitive Safe Surrender in 2014, in which law enforcement and clergy work together to establish a safe location for non-violent fugitives wanted for low-level felonies to turn themselves in.
- Creating a comprehensive approach to restoring order to crime hot spots in the neighborhood, including improved street lighting, dispersing loiterers, performing code inspections, cleaning up vacant lots and razing abandoned buildings. This component also includes continuing to train police officers to connect youth who witness violence to mental health services within 48 hours.
- Case Western Reserve University’s Begun Center for Violence Prevention will collect, analyze and evaluate data to ensure that activities are supported by evidence of need and to track results. Data will be gathered by Cleveland police, Cleveland Schools, the Office of Building and Housing, Juvenile Court, adult and juvenile parole and other partner agencies.
The grant is the result of a partnership between more than 30 agencies, including the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Municipal School District, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, Partnership for Safer Cleveland, Sisters of Charity Health System, Third Federal Foundation, Mt. Pleasant NOW, St. Luke’s Foundation, Mt. Pleasant Community Zone, Cleveland Police, Cleveland Community Relations Board, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and many others.