|HUD No. 00-20|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Monday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||January 31, 2000|
PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL PROPOSE $30 MILLION FOR COMMUNITY GUN SAFETY AND VIOLENCE REDUCTION INITIATIVE
WASHINGTON - President Clinton will propose a $30 million Community Gun Safety and Violence Reduction Initiative in his Fiscal Year 2001 Budget to reduce the estimated 30,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries caused by guns each year across the nation, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced today.
Cuomo said the initiative, which would be administered by HUD, would fund computerized tracking of gun violence to help law enforcement agencies better protect the public, education and outreach programs to promote responsible safety measures by gun owners, and innovative community activities to reduce both gun crimes and accidents.
HUD would also set aside funds to evaluate the initiative and report on which elements were most effective at reducing gun violence.
"President Clinton's policies have made great progress in putting more police on our streets and in reducing crime, but gun violence remains a tragedy that kills and disables people every day," Cuomo said. "This new initiative funds common-sense steps that we should all be able to agree on to better protect our families and save lives."
If Congress approves funding for the initiative, local governments, law enforcement agencies, public housing authorities, community organizations, and other groups would be eligible to compete for HUD grants to support gun violence reduction activities in the communities the Department serves.
"As guns grow more powerful and more plentiful, we need to empower communities to find more intelligent ways to protect us from their terrible destructive force," Cuomo said. "Working with local communities, we can build on other successful HUD programs that have reduced crime and violence in neighborhoods around the country."
The new initiative complements a $280 million national firearms enforcement initiative the President announced earlier this month that will be part of his proposed budget. The previously announced initiative would hire 500 new ATF agents and inspectors to target gun criminals, hire more than 1,000 prosecutors at all levels of government, fund new gun tracing and ballistics testing systems to catch more gun criminals, fund local media campaigns to discourage gun violence, and expand the development of "smart gun" technologies.
Here's a summary of the three activities that would be funded by the $30 million in grants announced today:
COMPUTER TRACKING OF GUN VIOLENCE
HUD would make awards to support state-of-the-art computer tracking and mapping partnerships to build databases on gun-related crimes, injuries, and fatalities. These new systems would provide communities with powerful and practical tools to guide their response to gun violence.
HUD-sponsored research indicates that geographic information systems (GIS), used in the context of data-sharing partnerships between police departments and public housing authorities, can be powerful tools for mapping crime in and around public housing developments. Local law enforcement agencies, working with public housing authorities, have used these information tools to guide their enforcement efforts. This approach can be applied to gun-related incidents (e.g., crimes, suicides, accidents, weapons recoveries) in other urban settings (e.g., downtown business districts, entertainment centers, parks, federally-assisted housing and other types of neighborhoods). Technology is readily available at relatively low cost for much-needed GIS gun-violence tracking systems that can be easily customized to almost any urban setting.
EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
The goal of the education and outreach element is to promote safe practices associated with responsible gun ownership, to build support for community-based responses to gun violence, and to raise awareness about the dimensions of the problem of gun violence. This effort would include community-based public education programs designed to instruct residents of public and assisted housing, Indian housing, landlords, owners, and housing managers about the actions associated with responsible gun ownership and what communities can do to take action to reduce gun violence.
Participants in other HUD-funded housing and community and economic development programs would be included as well. Education programs would make use of a variety of media including print, radio, television, computer-assisted learning, and the Internet/World Wide Web.
INNOVATIVE COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
HUD would make awards to local communities to support innovative and performance-driven gun safety and gun violence reduction activities, tailored to local needs and reflecting local conditions.
Local recipients could use the funds to purchase technical assistance and/or to pay for the implementation of safe gun ownership/safe storage programs (including lock-box purchase programs and child-safety lock purchase programs), gun violence telephone hotlines, gun tracing training and support, gun buyback programs, youth mentoring or diversion programs that offer alternatives to crime and violence, domestic violence counseling programs, and other activities designed to reduce accidental and criminal gun violence. Eligible applicants will include local governments, tribal governments, public housing agencies, Indian housing agencies and tribally designated housing entities, law enforcement agencies, and public and private profit and non-profit organizations.
BUILDING ON HUD'S SUCCESS IN REDUCING CRIME AND VIOLENCE
The rate of firearm deaths of children under 15 is higher in the United States than in any other industrialized country and almost 12 times higher than the rate for children in 25 other industrialized countries combined.
Residents of public housing, which HUD partially funds and regulates, are among those who suffer from too much gun violence. HUD estimates that there are more than 10,000 gun crimes committed every year in the housing units managed by the nation's 100 largest public housing agencies and that, on average, someone is murdered with a gun every day in those developments.
The new initiative builds on the record of success HUD has achieved through its comprehensive crime prevention and violence reduction efforts to carry out its mission to promote the national goal of "a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family."
This effort includes:
- Drug Elimination Grants - Providing nearly $2 billion over the past decade to combat crime and reduce the presence of drugs in and around public housing communities.
- One Strike and You're Out - Giving housing authorities the power to deny occupancy or to evict residents for alcohol abuse, illegal drug-related activities, and firearm-related acts of violence.
- Officer Next Door - Offering HUD-owned single-family homes to law enforcement officers at a 50 percent discount, encouraging law enforcement officers to become homeowners and residents in designated "revitalization" neighborhoods.
- Operation Safe Home - Addressing violent and drug-related crimes in publicly funded housing in a combined effort with the Departments of Justice and Treasury.
- Grassroots Youth Intervention Demonstration - Helping young people living in public housing avoid involvement with gangs, drugs, and other criminal activity.
- Youth Violence Prevention - Working with the Centers for Disease Control to help public housing authorities respond to youth violence.