House Judiciary Committee Approves Rep. Comstock Bill to Help Local Law Enforcement Combat Gang Violence
Washington, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee today approved by voice vote the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act (H.R. 3249) to curb the rise in gang activity and violence in the United States. This bill, introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), establishes a grant program to provide resources to state and local law enforcement agencies to combat gang activity in their communities, authorizing $50 million annually for Fiscal Year 2018 through Fiscal Year 2020. This bill will steer 30% of the $50 million to already establish gang taskforces like the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force.
Congresswoman Barbara Comstock:
“I want to thank Chairman Bob Goodlatte and the members of the Judiciary Committee for passing my legislation, the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act today. This bill will help steer federal funding toward frontline regional gang task forces like the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force. The resurgence of MS-13 in Northern Virginia has led to at least eight murders over the past year tied to MS-13 and other gangs, representing a 166% increase over last year. The Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act will provide vital resources to established regional gang task forces like the one we have here in Northern Virginia so that these brave men and women can get MS-13 off of our streets. I look forward to the bill soon being voted on in the full House.”
Jay Lanham, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force:
“On behalf of the Northern Virginia Police Chiefs and Loudoun County Sheriff, I would like to extend our thanks and gratitude for Congresswoman Comstock's support and ongoing efforts to return much needed funding to the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Force. The growing gang problem in Northern Virginia, and throughout the Country, is a serious threat and must be addressed head on. But, it is not a law enforcement problem alone. Intervention/Prevention/Education programs are direly needed as well. These programs, in conjunction with enforcement activities, have proven to be very successful in the past and funding is urgently needed. Rep. Comstock's Bill is an important step in restoring funding to the Task Force. We enthusiastically urge Congress to support this Bill for passage.”
Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police:
“The Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative was a very successful joint effort between local and State law enforcement working with Federal prosecutors to target violent criminals. It was an essential part of reducing firearms and other violent crime in our country. By rejuvenating the program and getting the “worst of the worst” off our streets, including helping rid our communities of the transnational street gang MS-13, we believe our nation as a whole will be safer.”