Very good news this week for highly focused police innovation around the policing of micro places where crime is concentrated. We received a $978,000 grant from the federal government’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to implement an innovative place-based, community-oriented youth violence prevention strategy in Rainier Beach. This is a great opportunity to improve public safety in this neighborhood.
The project builds on two ongoing City initiatives deeply embedded in the community—the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative and the Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update. The plan update specifically asked the Police Department to “consider a ‘hot spots’ approach to crime prevention” in the neighborhood.
The City will partner with George Mason University’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy for the project’s research and evaluation component, work that is crucial in measuring the impact of taxpayer dollars. The GMU Center has done excellent work on the value of focusing police resources on particular problem places (often called “hot spots”), a topic about which I’ve written extensively.
This grant is especially gratifying because it serves as a good example of how developing partnerships with outside institutions is important and can help create a culture of inquiry and innovation. While digging for background information for another project, the Office of City Auditor formed a relationship with the research experts at GMU. The Council then hosted several of them last year for a discussion about place-based and evidence-based crime prevention. After the visit, numerous City departments worked with GMU on this successful grant proposal and the Council submitted a letter in support.
Congratulations and thank you to all the dedicated City staff and partners who helped craft the grant application and to the people of Rainier Beach.