Gov. Bev Perdue today announced the awarding of $21.4 million in federal crime grants to state and local agencies for public safety needs including 10 new projects to address the urgent issue of prescription drug abuse in North Carolina.
"These grant awards are coming at a time when agency budgets are strapped, and the crime prevention needs have grown," Perdue said. "We welcome the innovative programs that these critical resources provide to help keep citizens and their communities safe."
The governor approved funding for 276 programs in all 100 counties, including two universities and four state agencies based on recommendations from members of the Governor's Crime Commission (GCC). The federal grants will help target gangs, fight juvenile delinquency, assist victims and provide updated equipment for law enforcement agencies.
In addition, funds are being used to support programs addressing one of the fastest growing problems in North Carolina, prescription drug abuse. This epidemic has increased the number of drug overdoses at alarming rates. Obtaining prescription medications by illicit means and use, resulting in deaths of teens and adults has caused great concern in our medical, law enforcement, and local communities. Ten programs operating around the state will provide the necessary training, outreach and diversion tactics to decrease the number of illegal prescriptions obtained under false pretense and non-prescribed use in our state. The tactics will hopefully decrease the number of drug related criminal incidents and deaths seen in our state.
The members of the Governor's Crime Commission met to approve final funding recommendations at the March meeting. The commission's recommendations were then submitted to Gov. Perdue and Secretary Reuben Young of the N.C. Department of Public Safety for their approval. Since that time, those recommended for funding have been revising their proposals to comply with state and federal regulations. Projects recommended for funding included 101 Criminal Justice Improvement grants totaling $4.5 million, 156 Crime Victim Services grants totaling $15.1 million, and 19 Juvenile Justice grants totaling $1.8 million.
"Each year we are encouraged by the innovative thinking and new tools being used to help reduce crime," said District Attorney Scott Thomas, chair of the Governor's Crime Commission. "The staff of the Crime Commission works throughout the year staying abreast of crime trends and monitoring the effectiveness of the grantee's programs. The impact of their work has had a lasting effect."
The purpose of GCC funding is to help establish new programs that may be beneficial to local communities and sustained by those communities. The Crime Commission has funded many successful projects that have become well established, such as the Community Watch program, community policing, e-citation and school resource officers. Some programs have become models for other states such as the High Point Drug Model Initiative that is now being used in Los Angeles, Chicago, and in other communities in North Carolina.
Federal funding is appropriated annually by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of Justice for distribution to the states. This funding is used to provide grants to government, education and social service agencies to start new and innovative programs and to improve the criminal justice system.
The Governor's Crime Commission is a section in the Department of Public Safety and is headed by Executive Director Gwendolyn W. Burrell. For more information, visit www.ncdps.gov.
A complete list of the grants is attached and also available at: http://www.nccrimecontrol.org/index2.cfm?a=000003,000011,001848