State due $7.6 million to fight crime

Funds are part of federal spending bill expected to get approval

November 11, 2005|By GWYNETH K. SHAW | GWYNETH K. SHAW,SUN REPORTER

WASHINGTON — More than $7.6 million in crime-prevention money would come to Maryland as part of a federal spending bill expected to be approved by Congress by early next week.

The funding - tucked into a $57 billion measure that bankrolls the Commerce and Justice departments and other government agencies - includes $2 million for an anti-gang initiative in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

Also included is $1 million for Baltimore after-school programs; $500,000 for a city program aimed at helping former offenders adapt to life outside jail; and $1.75 million for two programs that work with families and children to reduce juvenile crime.

Members of Maryland's congressional delegation said yesterday that they were particularly pleased that the state would be getting the anti-gang money, obtained through a cooperative effort with officials from Virginia and Washington.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a Democrat and member of the Appropriations Committee, called the money "a bicameral, bipartisan effort to say `no' to the gang expansion that's going on in our communities."

Cooperative effort

Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Albert R. Wynn, Democrats who represent Montgomery and Prince George's counties, respectively, stressed the prevention and intervention components of the programs, plus the cooperative government effort.

"We really do need a regional approach - not just in the Washington area, but in Maryland," Van Hollen said.

Nationally, anti-gang programs would get $40 million through the legislation.

The bill also includes $2 million for the expansion of the University of Baltimore's forensic crime studies program and $100,000 for Coppin State University's Urban Criminal Research and Training Institute.

The Baltimore City Police Department would get $100,000 to add mobile work stations to some patrol cars, designed to let officers get information and file reports more quickly. Another $100,000 would go toward community policing initiatives in West Baltimore and other areas.

For juveniles

The two programs that target juveniles are run by the city Health Department and the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

"These funds will provide tremendous benefit to our area's law enforcement and crime prevention efforts," said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat.

The House passed the spending bill Wednesday, and Senate approval is expected by early next week.

gwyneth.shaw@baltsun.com

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