Enhancing Nationwide Public Safety: Training and Technical Assistance for Project Safe Neighborhoods Sites and Criminal Justice Agencies
The U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program is a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state, local, and tribal criminal justice agencies and community leaders to develop comprehensive, data-driven solutions to combat violent crime. From 2000 to 2006, independent research shows that PSN program sites achieved a 4 – 20 percent reduction in violent crime compared to non-PSN locations. As a result, in 2017, DOJ committed to strengthening PSN and its core strategies, which include:
- Developing tailored, community-based programs to meet each jurisdiction’s unique needs;
- Identifying and targeting the most violent offenders by using cutting-edge technology and intelligence; and
- Enabling prosecutors and law enforcement to incorporate prevention and reentry strategies to address violent crime.
To accomplish these tasks, all 93 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the nation are implementing PSN programs that feature five common elements: leadership, partnerships, targeted enforcement efforts, prevention, and accountability. Further, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has dedicated $3 million in training and technical assistance (TTA) resources specifically designed to support the PSN program sites; state, local, and tribal law enforcement; criminal justice agencies; and practitioners along those five focus areas.
PSN Training and Technical Assistance Resources
BJA’s national-level PSN TTA providers – Michigan State University (MSU), CNA, and the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) – offer no-cost, comprehensive, tailored, and expert support, resources, instruction, and information to help sites address violent crime. Assistance ranges from helping participating agencies navigate various crime analytic processes and technologies, to helping build capacity and partnerships, to helping with program planning, implementation, and sustainability. Types of TTA include onsite training, customized assessments, virtual learning and consultation, peer-to-peer exchanges, informational resources, and web resources.
Michigan State University
The TTA focus for MSU’s School of Criminal Justice is strategic problem solving and site coordination, which involves customizing the PSN program’s core strategies to meet local violent crime reduction needs. MSU helps sites conduct research and gather performance measures to better understand their capacity, gaps, and program successes. MSU can also help TTA requestors find a local research partner that can help the community assess its violent crime reduction challenges and outcomes. Additional details regarding MSU’s PSN TTA services may be found at https://psn.cj.msu.edu/tta/index.html.
CNA’s Institute for Public Research supports the implementation of law enforcement- and prosecution-related strategies at PSN sites, such as prolific offender analysis and targeting. For example, CNA may help a jurisdiction develop and review a prolific offender list, understand the types of data needed for such a list, identify and coordinate with necessary partners, and evaluate the effectiveness of approaches such as focused deterrence.
Partnering with Major Cities Chiefs Association and the National District Attorneys Association, CNA offers distance learning opportunities, direct peer exchanges, and tailored training. Additionally, CNA promotes sustainability as an outcome, ultimately leading to more effective crime reduction efforts. Additional details regarding CNA’s PSN TTA services may be found at https://psntta.org/tta-resources/topical-resources/law-enforcement-and-prosecution-strategies/.
National Center for Victims of Crime
NCVC enables PSN sites to incorporate victim-centered, trauma-informed approaches into their crime reduction efforts. The organization connects TTA requestors with information on victim services programs and partners, assesses communities’ victim services capacity, and helps jurisdictions address areas of enhancement. NCVC’s subject matter partners include the Center for Court Innovation, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, among others. Additional details regarding NCVC’s PSN TTA services may be found at https://psntta.org/tta-resources/topical-resources/victims-centered-assistance/.
In addition to the providers above, each PSN program receives support from one of seven regional TTA teams comprised of a TTA liaison, analyst, victim services liaison, and DOJ TTA support team member. The regional TTA team provides on-call TTA support, identifies additional TTA resources available to task forces, and facilitates information sharing and collaboration. PSN teams work with their regional TTA team to connect with BJA’s PSN TTA providers, depending on the identified focus area.
Jurisdictions that are not involved in a PSN program site may still contact a PSN TTA provider or use their available tools and resources for their crime reduction needs. For example, MSU’s Violence Reduction Assessment Tool enables any community to assess its capacity to implement a violence reduction program and identifies action items to maximize success. Police departments that are interested in learning more about PSN efforts in their districts should reach to their U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO). Whether involved as a PSN site or not, communities seeking TTA related to PSN may request services by coordinating with their USAO and submitting the request via the online TTA request form.
For an overview of PSN’s TTA services, access the PSN TTA Overview Document.
To access PSN TTA training, webinars, and other resources, visit the Project Safe Neighborhoods Training and Technical Assistance website at https://psntta.org/.
To submit the work of your organization or jurisdiction for consideration to be featured in a future BJA NTTAC TTA Spotlight, please email BJANTTAC@ojp.usdoj.gov.
If your agency or community is interested in violent crime reduction or would like to apply for technical assistance, please contact BJA NTTAC at BJANTTAC@ojp.usdoj.gov to discuss your unique criminal justice needs.