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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1998202/307-0703


WASHINGTON, D.C.--Over 3,000 local jurisdictions are receiving grants totaling over $440 million to help them reduce crime and improve public safety. The funds, which can be used to hire police officers, improve security in and around schools, purchase law enforcement equipment and technology, and enhance the adjudication of violent offenders and for other public safety efforts are being made under the Local Law Enforcement Block Grants (LLEBG) program. The program is administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a component of the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs.

"Fighting crime takes resources," said Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Director Nancy Gist. "The LLEBG program gives jurisdictions additional resources they need to carry out local strategies for making their communities safe."

The grants are being distributed using a formula based on violent crime data the FBI has collected from the states and localities covering the three most recent years data was compiled. In accordance with provisions set forth by the Congress, BJA makes direct awards to units of local government that qualified for $10,000 or more. The largest grants went to New York ($30,962,096), Chicago ($22,099,127) and Los Angeles ($18,155,068).

Those jurisdictions that will not receive direct awards will be eligible to receive funds or increased services from the state. States received a base amount in addition to the funds left over from jurisdictions that did not qualify for at least $10,000. The states received those funds earlier this year.

In addition to the purposes previously mentioned, local jurisdictions can also use their grants to establish multijurisdictional task forces; establish drug courts or implement crime prevention measures. The states will distribute the funds they receive among state police departments that provide law enforcement services to local governments and/or directly to local governments. By law, funds cannot be used to acquire real estate, consultants, tanks or armored vehicles, fixed-wing aircraft, limousines, yachts, or any vehicle not primarily used for law enforcement.

Based on information provided by local grantees, BJA estimates that approximately 76 percent of the funds provided in FY 1996 were used to purchase law enforcement equipment or technology or to hire new officers or pay overtime to existing officers, 7 percent was used to enhance security around schools, 5 percent was used to establish drug courts and 12 percent was distributed among the remaining four purpose areas.

The program was first established with the FY 1996 Omnibus Appropriations Act. This is the third year grants are being made under the LLEBG program. BJA has now provided over $1.5 billion to states and local jurisdictions through the LLEBG program.

For additional information about BJA and its programs, contact the Department of Justice Response Center at 1-800/421-6770 or visit BJA's home page at:

For additional information about OJP and its programs, visit its home page at:

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BJA 99-002

For additional information contact Doug Johnson at 202/616-3559