The US Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is awarding grants worth over $35 million to programs which utilize science in the fight against crime.
On Monday, the OJP announced plans to spend over $34.5 million on nine programs which aim to reduce crime, improve community safety, and provide a "science-based approach" to criminal justice.
The US agency says that over 40 jurisdictions and research institutes will receive funding under the "Smart Suite" umbrella. The Smart Suite program aims to promote innovative solutions by using data analysis, technology, evidence-based practices, and scientific knowledge to keep US citizens safe -- as well as improve the performance of the criminal justice system while not increasing costs.
During the Smart Suite Summit which took place September 7, Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason said the program will help communities target criminal hotspots, enhance public safety, and encourage the "revitalization" of run-down neighborhoods.
"The Smart Suite touches every aspect of the criminal justice system, from arrest to prosecution to reentry, relying on practitioner-researcher relationships that use data, evidence and innovation to enable jurisdictions to understand the full nature and extent of local crime challenges," the agency says.
Some of the projects earmarked for fresh funding include:
US officials have already seen some success with smart programs. In Corning, California, a previous grant resulted awarded to Byrne Criminal Justice saw a "30 percent decrease" in violent crime since 2015, and a gun diversion program is now underway.
"These successes are no accident," said Mason. "They happened because of a commitment to smart, sustainable public safety strategies grounded in data and research. These awards help communities pursue evidence-based and community partnerships to reduce crime and increase public safety."