Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Over $960k Dept. of Justice Grant for Westminster Foundation; Investment Will Help Fight Buffalo Gang Violence & Drug Crime

Sep 25, 2012

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced a $962,765 Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) Program grant from the Department of Justice will be awarded to the Westminster Foundation, in Buffalo. Specifically, the Westminster Foundation will used this grant to implement the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood Save Our Streets program that will assign officers to the designated high-crime areas, provide the community with case management services, and organize and implement “Clean Sweep” operations in the target area to conduct neighborhood revitalization efforts. In addition, the program will coordinate a comprehensive anti-gang and youth outreach initiative and extend the “Block Clubs Boosting Buffalo” program and increase community participation to help reduce crime.

“This investment will support law enforcement and community leaders in the fight against crime, and is great news for the City of Buffalo, and the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood,” said Senator Schumer. “This investment will help make our streets and neighborhoods safer for children and  families by strategically targeting areas with high gang- and drug-related crimes. When it comes to protecting our citizens we must be tough and smart, and these community partnerships and increased police presence will do just that.” 

“We can never allow the lure of gangs to surpass opportunities for Buffalo children to grow and achieve their full potential,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Too many communities suffer from gang activity and the violent crime that comes with it. It’s time to fight back with better resources for our law enforcement, tougher penalties to lock up offenders, positive role models to guide our children to success, and unite our communities with common purpose to keep our families safe.”

“Our efforts to fulfill the promise to the residents of this neighborhood is predicated on collaboration with a diverse group of stakeholders, including our congressional delegation, and the various entities and organizations that helped in securing this grant,” said Mark J. Czarnecki, president of M&T Bank and chairman of the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood Board of Directors.  “This grant is just another example where everyone is working together in order to restore hope and optimism in the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood.”

The Buffalo Promise Neighborhood Save Our Streets program is a comprehensive, multifaceted, scientifically-based and data-driven initiative that will address the escalation of crime, drug abuse, trafficking, juvenile delinquency, physical deterioration, and blight endemic to the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood. The program’s goal is to decrease crime, reduce gang activities, establish barriers to deter gang recruitment and participation combat the use, abuse and sale of drugs and halt the cycle of fear and retribution endemic in this service area.

The goal of the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) Program is to improve community safety by designing and implementing effective, comprehensive approaches to addressing crime within a targeted neighborhood as part of a broader strategy to advance neighborhood revitalization through cross-sector community-based partnerships. Research suggests that crime clustered in small areas, or “crime hot spots,” accounts for a disproportionate amount of crime and disorder in many communities. In times of limited resources, local and tribal leaders need tools and information about crime trends in their jurisdiction and assistance in assessing, planning, and implementing the most effective use of criminal justice resources to address these issues. They also need a core foundation of resources and tools to support data-driven strategy development, community-driven capacity building for collaborative problem solving, and assistance to identify and implement evidence-based and innovative strategies to target these drivers of crime. A multi-faceted approach like the BCJI Program targets crime in the locations where most crime is occurring. This approach can have the biggest impact while also building the capacity of the community to deter future crime.