Both the Bibb and Twiggs County Sheriff offices were recently awarded with a grant through the U.S. Justice Department to fight gun and gang violence.
The initiative itself comes from the U.S. Justice Department and is called, Project Safe Neighborhoods and will mainly target gun and gang violence in the counties. The amount awarded was $150,000 and it will be shared between both County Sheriff offices.
Project Safe Neighborhoods is designed to create safer neighborhoods through a sustained effort based on the cooperation of local, state and federal agencies engaged in a unified approach led by the U.S. attorney in each district.
U.S. Attorney Michael Moore announced the grant in a news release. According to Moore, the $150,000 in grant funds are to be used to: complete a community-wide gang assessment, create a gang database, implement a gang intervention program for 40 juvenile offenders, implement cognitive behavioral treatment for 15 adult offenders, modify the Bibb government website to include graffiti reporting, implement an abatement program for abandoned homes, create a public education campaign, and create a crime review panel.
“While law enforcement agencies already have databases of gang members, the
grant will pay for a gang database program that can be added to and accessed by the police agencies involved,” said David Davis, Bibb County’s Sheriff. Using the data, law enforcement members hope to find solutions by knowing details such as the average age of gang members, their educational backgrounds and what life is like for them at home.
The Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council will administer the grant. And last month the Macon City Council appointed the Police Department to head-up the city’s anti-gang effort. Councilman Virgil Watkins, chairman of the council’s Public Safety committee, said the council set aside $60,000 of city funds for the project.
Watkins said that the city is still looking to hire a coordinator for its program and also expressed that the effort was slowed by disputes over which agencies would run the program and the cost.
The Bibb County Sheriff’s office noticed an increase in gang activity involved in several areas of the county and a series of crimes and gun incidents in Bibb public schools that brought new attention to the raise of violence in the past year.
The Sheriff’s office expressed that they hope this grant will give the necessary equipment for its deputies to apprehend, prosecute, and deter any and all gang and or gun violence inside Bibb County.