Lincoln, Pryor, Snyder, Ross Announce Gang Prevention Funds for Arkansas

Washington – U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and U.S. Representatives Vic Snyder (AR-02) and Mike Ross (AR-04) today announced that Arkansans for a Safer Arkansas, located in Pine Bluff, will receive a total of $174,235 in U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) grants under its Project Safe Neighborhoods program.

Arkansans for a Safer Arkansas, a non-profit corporation established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing gun violence and gang activity, will distribute DOJ funds to local law enforcement agencies on behalf of Arkansas’s U.S. Attorney’s Offices. The Project Safe Neighborhoods program supports gang prevention initiatives aimed at children in Northwest and Central Arkansas, and specifically works to enhance police efforts to crack down on gangs.

Arkansans for a Safer Arkansas will distribute $94,665 in funding to Pine Bluff and Little Rock law enforcement agencies for education and law enforcement efforts. DOJ funds will support a coordinator who will schedule and oversee gang prevention programs that focus on gun safety and anger management for elementary students in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County schools. In addition, the Little Rock Police Department will use its funds to help identify gang members and pay police officers overtime to perform extra patrols of areas known for gang activity.

Northwest Arkansas law enforcement agencies in Sebastian, Washington, and Benton counties will use $79,570 in DOJ funds to organize a community anti-gang task force to sponsor structured after-school activities for elementary and middle school students and give presentations to students on the consequences of gang participation. Funds will also be used to provide training for law enforcement officers to help them successfully prosecute gang-related crime.

“Teaching kids to stay away from gangs and providing safe after-school alternatives will ensure that more of our youth are on a path toward a bright future,” Lincoln said. “I support this funding that will give Arkansas’s law enforcement officers additional resources to crack down on gang violence and keep our children safe.”

“Gang violence can tear apart families and take lives,” Pryor said. “These funds will help schools and law enforcement agencies across Arkansas combat gang activity head on, providing education and prevention programs for children and resources for police officers to fight gang-related crime.”

“The funds not only train Arkansan officers to combat gang problems, but also how to prevent them,” Snyder said. “This proactive approach in crime prevention is a good thing for all of us – our young people, our neighborhoods, and our communities.”

“Our communities depend on local law enforcement having the resources they need to keep our families safe,” Ross said. “This important federal investment will help Arkansans for a Safer Arkansas partner with local law enforcement as they work to prevent children from falling victim to gang violence.  Their efforts help ensure our children have a safe and secure environment in which they can learn and grow.”

“The Project Safe Neighborhoods program has been instrumental in effectively prosecuting gun-related crime in Arkansas,” said Stevan Dalrymple, Director of Arkansans for a Safer Arkansas. “We are appreciative of this funding that will allow us to continue our efforts because they have had a dramatic effect on curbing crime in our communities.”