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Former Alabama Senator and current US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced an initiative to reduce crime in twelve cities today. Urban areas are consistently more dangerous, even accounting for population, than suburban and rural areas, and this new program aims to reduce violent crime in these high-risk areas, especially gun crime.
The initiative, named the National Public Safety Partnership, targets cities with crime levels far above the national average. These cities must also be willing and able to receive federal assistance and training. The Justice Department stressed that the aid given to cities will consist of personnel rather than money, that assistance will be administrative rather than “boots-on-the-ground.” In other words, the partnership between local and federal authorities focuses on finding new “data-driven, evidence based strategies.”
The 3-year commitment looks at everything from organizational leadership to community engagement and peer learning. The first half of that time involves data collection and planning.
Our city has not yet released any specifics about Birmingham’s program, nor has our police force. Given the recent announcement, that’s not surprising! Only time will tell what “data-driven, evidence based strategies” see use. I suspect our recent open data policy will play a part! The most hopeful part of me suspects the program will call for Birmingham citizens to submit proposals. Incidentally, Birmingham hosts the now-functioning open data access portal here!