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Project Safe Neighborhoods Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction Program - Time to take that innovative project off the shelf!

Project Safe Neighborhoods was initiated during the Bush administration and continues to provide funding to reduce gun and gang violence across the country. Technology is frequently a part of these innovative and data-driven approaches to achieving improved situational awareness and suspect identification, as well as expanding access to criminal history records. (Photo: Getty Images)



A major hurdle in applying to this program is in defining what exactly is a “research-driven, intelligence-led, and problem-solving approach.” What may seem to fit these criteria for a rural county sheriff may be completely different from a city manager running a large urban center, even though they may both have an equal interest in attacking the problem of firearms and gang violence. 

Technology certainly can fit into this definition, and research shows that technology can help connect officers to critical information in the field, improve prosecution rates through better records management, and expand the capacity of law enforcement officials to monitor and respond to criminal activity in more places than ever before. But no solution – technology, training, community involvement, etc. – is going to be sufficient on its own to merit funding.

Instead, it’s important to consider how these and other approaches will work within the context of your organizational culture and community, then look for the approaches that best fit the qualifying criteria for the grant (research-driven, intelligence-led, and problem-solving). You may have to go through a few iterations of this exercise to find the approach that best matches both your needs and the objectives of the program, but the time you spend on developing a sound program concept will go a long way in making your proposal more competitive.

 More Details on the Opportunity 

The purpose of PSN is to reduce gun and gang violence in jurisdictions throughout the nation by employing a research-driven, intelligence-led, and problem-solving approach to reduce firearms and gang violence, through enforcement, deterrence, and prevention. BJA is seeking applications from applicants interested in developing innovative, comprehensive, data-driven approaches to reduce chronic gun and/or gang violence in their jurisdiction. BJA expects agencies to work toward a result; a PSN result is defined as a plausible, scientifically-based finding that a solution had either an effect or no effect on the problem. The involvement of a research partner is indispensable to achieving this result.

There are five PSN design features that all PSN grant applicants should address in their application. The five design features are:


The PSN program is intended to increase partnerships between federal, state, and local agencies through the formation of a local PSN task force.

Strategic Planning and Research Integration

PSN is a problem-solving program, based on a strategic planning process in which jurisdictions should define the specific components of their gun and/or gang violence problem with the help of research data and design focused strategies to target these problem components through enforcement/prosecution, deterrence, and prevention.


A core component of PSN is its provision of training opportunities to local district task forces to assist them in the effective implementation of all aspects of the program.


This PSN component involves both local and national outreach efforts. Locally, districts should be sending a deterrent message to would-be criminals stressing “hard time for gun and gang-related crime,” with simultaneous promotion of educational, intervention/ prevention, reentry, and employment alternatives.

Accountability and Data-Driven Efforts

This element emphasizes that PSN will focus on outcomes—i.e., reduced gun and gang crime—as opposed to a focus on outputs such as arrests and cases prosecuted.


Eligible applicants are PSN Task Force fiscal agents for the U.S. Attorney districts and federally recognized Indian tribal governments as determined by the Secretary of the Interior. All fiscal agents must be certified by the relevant U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO). Eligible fiscal agents include states, units of local government, educational institutions, faith-based and other community organizations, private nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments as determined by the Secretary of the Interior. For details on the fiscal agent certification process, see www.bja.gov/programs/psn/cert_process.html.

Award Information 

Awards will be made for a period of up to 24 months across 3 categories, based on the USAO district populations.

·         USAO district populations of 5 million or more can receive awards of up to $500,000

·         USAO district populations of 2 to 5 million can receive awards of up to $300,000

·         USAO district populations under 2 million can receive awards of up to $150,000

For more information, visit: www.grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=22840