For Immediate Release: June 23, 2015
Janine Kava | firstname.lastname@example.org | (518) 457-8906
Press Office, Division of Criminal Justice Services | (518) 457-8828
Albany, Erie, Nassau, Niagara, Orange and Suffolk counties represented at National Network for Safe Communities’ two-day event in New York City
Law enforcement professionals from communities in New York State hardest hit by gun violence are joining with academics, policy experts, police leaders and prosecutors today to learn more about innovative strategies and techniques to prevent crime, reduce incarceration and enhance legitimacy of the criminal justice system and public safety.
Two dozen police, prosecutors and probation professionals from six of the 17 counties participating in the state’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative – Albany, Erie, Nassau, Niagara, Orange and Suffolk – are in New York City at a conference hosted by the National Network for Safe Communities. The organization, based at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, is one of several providing technical assistance and training to GIVE agencies so they can implement evidence-based strategies to reduce gun violence and save lives.
Technical assistance is a key component to GIVE, an initiative administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Now entering its second year, GIVE also provides $13.3 million to 20 police departments and district attorneys’ offices, probation departments and sheriffs’ offices in the 17 counties reporting 87 percent of the violent crime in the state outside of New York City.
“Funding can go only so far toward reducing crime, absent solid data-driven analysis and a community-based effort,” DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green said. “New York is at the forefront in its commitment to funding proven strategies that target shootings and firearm-related homicides, and to giving law enforcement guidance and resources to help them effectively implement those programs. This conference provides our GIVE partners with another opportunity to engage with and learn from both their peers and national experts who are doing similar work in communities across the country.”
Executive Deputy Commissioner Green outlined GIVE during a panel discussion that also explored how law enforcement agencies have integrated the principles of community trust and legitimacy in their recruitment and training and how agencies can foster and sustain those practices to improve community-police relationships.
Other topics at the two-day conference, which began yesterday and concludes today at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, include social network analysis and social media tools in crime prevention, domestic violence intervention, innovative prosecution strategies and new approaches to outreach and support. Officials from other GIVE jurisdictions unable to attend could watch keynote remarks and panel discussions online.
National Network Director David Kennedy is working with GIVE jurisdictions to implement focused deterrence, a strategy in which law enforcement identifies chronic offenders and targets them for enhanced attention, enforcement and prosecution. A critical key to this approach is a partnership among law enforcement agencies, community groups and social services organizations to communicate the clear consequences for continued criminal behavior directly to specific offenders.
“New York State’s commitment to funding proven crime reduction programs based on key principles of police legitimacy, community empowerment and engagement and strategic enforcement is groundbreaking,” Kennedy said. “While the National Network for Safe Communities has long-standing partnerships with individual communities across the country, this is one of the rare instances where we see a state taking the lead in this work. I commend the Division of Criminal Justice Services for its stewardship of GIVE and participating agencies for their willingness to re-think the way they protect and serve their communities.”
In addition to focused deterrence, GIVE agencies use grant funding to implement other violence-aversion strategies: hot-spots policing, crime prevention through environmental design and street outreach workers, who help interrupt cycles of violence or prevent retaliation.
While use of those evidence-based strategies vary by county, all GIVE agencies must integrate problem-oriented policing and procedural justice into their comprehensive plans to target gun violence. Through problem-oriented policing, agencies analyze data and intelligence to identify where similar crimes are occurring, and use that information to find new solutions to address those crimes. Procedural justice is designed to enhance police-community relations by ensuring interactions between law enforcement and individuals is fair, and individuals who come in contact with police believe they are being treated fairly and respectfully during those encounters.
The second year of GIVE funding begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2016. The other counties targeted by the program are Broome, Chautauqua, Dutchess, Monroe, Oneida, Onondaga, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Ulster and Westchester.
Grants fund personnel, such as crime analysts, field intelligence officers, investigators and prosecutors; overtime; and equipment including analytical software, public surveillance cameras and GPS devices. In each case, the funding must be clearly linked toward an agency’s implementation of specific evidence-based strategies.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov) is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the states DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry.
The National Network for Safe Communities (www.nnscommunities.org) supports jurisdictions implementing strategic interventions to reduce violence and community disorder. These strategies combine the best of law enforcement and community-driven approaches to improve public safety, minimize arrests and incarceration, enhance police legitimacy, and rebuild relationships between law enforcement and distressed communities.