Rep. Comstock Legislation to Help Regional Gang Task Forces Passes House

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Provided by Congresswoman Barbara Comstock’s Office

Congresswoman Barbara Comstock’s (R-VA) Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act, which would establish a grant program to provide resources to state and local entities to curb the rise in gang activity and violence passed the House today.  This legislation authorizes $50 million annually for FY2019 through FY2021.  Thirty percent of the appropriated amounts will go directly to already-established gang task forces, like the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force, who are experiencing elevated transnational gang activity from gangs such as MS-13.

“I have seen firsthand the good work that gang taskforces can do to remove the gang threats in our community. They are an important tool in crime prevention, and this legislation will make sure they have the tools they need to take on violent gangs like MS-13,” said Congresswoman Barbara Comstock.  “The Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act will help steer federal funding toward frontline regional gang task forces like the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force.  The community policing involved with the Regional Gang Task Force includes officers who speak Spanish, understand gang culture, and are familiar with these communities.  ICE officials complement these efforts by removing the dangerous members, allowing the Task Force to work in our highest risk schools on gang prevention and education.  The Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force, comprised of 13 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, explains that the best anti-gang method is a three-pronged approach: education, intervention/prevention, and enforcement.”

“I would like to thank Congresswoman Comstock for her unwavering support of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force,” said Jay Lanham, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force.  “She understands in detail the need for continued enforcement and intervention/prevention/education programs to combat the illicit gang activity in Northern Virginia.  Her support is readily apparent in the introduction and passage of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act, which will provide much needed financial support for the Task Force.  This funding is sorely needed to bring intervention/prevention programs back to counter our youth joining dangerous street gangs, such as MS13 and to support ongoing suppression efforts.  Rep. Comstock has led the way in returning funding to the Task Force and her leadership is very much appreciated!”

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