The Anti-Gang Initiative was designed to help law enforcement agencies address gang-related violence, drug problems, and fear in their cities and neighborhoods.
In 1996, the COPS Office identified 15 police departments across the nation as having significant gang problems in their jurisdictions. COPS provided funding to these jurisdictions to help them acquire the necessary resources to implement community policing strategies and problem-solving practices to address gang-related issues. Under this initiative, departments developed innovative programs and strategies that included building partnerships with the community, schools, social service agencies, and local city agencies; using geographic information systems to identify gang hotspots; enforcing curfew and truancy regulations; and using such civil remedies as code enforcement and civil abatement. Funding was also provided to allow the 15 agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies employed under the grant.
The Anti-Gang Initiative was announced in June 1996. The grants were for a 1-year period, with no-cost extensions provided on a case-by-case basis.
A total of $11 million was available under the Anti-Gang Initiative. Each site was eligible to receive $500,000 to $1 million, based on the city's population level. A local cash match was not required under this program, but each department was encouraged to provide an in-kind match.
COPS funded sites in Phoenix, AZ; Los Angeles, CA; Oakland, CA; Orange County, CA; Miami, FL; Chicago, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Boston, MA; Detroit, MI; Kansas City, MO; St. Louis, MO; Jersey City, NJ; Austin, TX; Dallas, TX; and Salt Lake City, UT.