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Remarks of Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General
Office of Justice Programs

Justice Department Anti-Violence Strategy Visit
With the United State Attorney
For the Western District of North Carolina

Friday, June 17, 2011
Charlotte, NC

     Thank you, Anne. I'm delighted to be here to help open this terrific facility.

     Let me begin by conveying Attorney General Eric Holder's greetings and his thanks to all of you for the great work you're doing here in Charlotte. I want to particularly thank Fran Cook and Chief Monroe for everything they're doing to steer kids away from gangs and crime. I know Chief Monroe, as a veteran of the D.C. Metropolitan Police, worked very closely with Eric Holder when he was U.S. Attorney - and I know also they share a strong commitment to working with youth.

     I'd also like to thank Anne Tompkins. She's been a wonderful partner on a number of fronts and, I can attest, really understands what goes into creating safer communities. I know I speak for the Attorney General when I say "thank you, Anne" for your leadership here in the Western District of North Carolina.

     What a remarkable partnership this is that reaches across agencies and across levels of government! Charlotte is truly fortunate to have visionary leaders and dedicated professionals who really "get" what community safety is all about. As they'll all tell you, it's not just about arresting offenders - it's about giving those who are at risk - especially our young people - a chance to make positive choices. It's about prevention as much as enforcement.

     In fact, prevention is one of the three core elements of the Attorney General's Anti-Violence Strategy - one of the three legs of the three-legged stool. The other two are enforcement and reentry - and, in my view, prevention is just as important as the other two. One thing is certain - a successful campaign against violence isn't possible unless we commit to all three elements, and all three are coordinated.

     Attorney General Holder believes strongly in a balanced approach to community safety and to youth and gang violence. He knows that we need to do more than lock up violent offenders - we need to support programs like the Greenville Neighborhood Center that work to head off the next generation of offenders. And I'm proud that, at the Office of Justice Programs - my agency - we're helping to provide that support.

     Our Bureau of Justice Assistance in 2009 awarded a grant under the Recovery Act through the North Carolina Governor's Crime Commission, the state Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and Mecklenburg County that provided substantial funding to get this Center off the ground. And I want to thank Jennifer Roberts for her partnership and leadership on this effort here in Mecklenburg County. Looking around, I know that our resources are being put to excellent use.

     But another big part of our work - and this is one of my agency's key roles in the Anti-Violence Strategy - is helping communities come up with solutions to problems that they've identified by our sharing information about what does and doesn't work. We're constantly searching for effective approaches to crime and violence. This is why I launched several years ago, early in the Administration, what we call the Evidence Integration Initiative to assess what we know from research and practice - and to make that information available to those of you working on the front lines.

     As part of that, we're setting up an online Criminal Justice "What Works" Resource Center called that goes live next week. This is a clearinghouse of information about programs that work, don't work, and are promising in addressing crime - and the goal is to help busy practitioners and leaders like all of you find out what approaches can work in your community to effectively fight crime and reduce delinquency.

     So we're here, not just as a grant-maker, but as your partner in finding real answers to our crime problems. Our job is to support you in whatever way we can - and as I see it, we can serve no better role than by giving you the information you need to leverage your resources - in these tight budget times - in the smartest possible way.

     Once again, I'm so really pleased to be here, and congratulations to you all on this exciting milestone. I look forward to hearing great things about what this Center accomplishes.

     Thank you so much!


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