Bibb and Twiggs counties have been awarded a $150,000 Federal grant to fight gang violence.
U.S. Attorney Michael Moore announced the grant in a news release. He said the money will come from the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.
According to Moore, the money will be used to:
- Complete a community-wide gang assessment
- Create a gang database
- Start a gang-intervention program for 40 juvenile offenders
- Start behavioral treatment for 15 adult offenders
- Make it easier to report graffiti
- Start an abatement program for abandoned homes
- Create a public education campaign
- Create a crime review panel and use other strategies designed to fight gun and gang violence.
The Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council will administer the grant.
Partners in the initiative are the Macon Police Department, the Bibb and Twiggs county sheriff's offices, and Volunteer Macon, Inc.
Last month, the Macon City Council appointed the Police Department to head-up the city's anti-gang effort -- rather than the Mayor's office.
Councilman Virgil Watkins, chairman of the council's Public Safety committee, said the council set aside $60,000 of city funds for the project and hoped to augment that with grants.
Watkins said the city is looking to hire a coordinator for its program.
Mayor Robert Reichert, Police Chief Mike Burns and the Council all announced efforts to fight gang violence after a wave of crimes in the summer of 2011.
The effort was slowed by disputes over which agencies would run the program and the cost.
In 2009, 13WMAZ reported that the Macon Police Department lost its gang-member database when a computer hard drive failed.
A recent series of crimes and gun incidents in Bibb public schools brought new attention to youth violence.
The Macon Police Department says it enhanced its fight against teen crime in the last year.
In an interview last month, spokeswoman Jami Gaudet cited truancy sweeps in concert with the sheriff's office, Board of Education police and the U.S. Attorney's office.
She also cited new efforts by the Police Athletic Activities League to keep children occupied and get parents more involved in anti-crime efforts.