More than a half million dollars in federal grant money aims to help one of Evansville's most historic neighborhoods fight crime.
The $600,000 grant comes from the Department of Justice's Bryne Criminal Justice Innovation Program. Officials say the grant runs on a three year timeline with the first 15 months being devoted to researching and identifying the most crime-riddled areas of the Jacobsville neighbhood. Once those crime hot spots are determined, extra police officers would be hired to work overtime by patrolling those areas.
The grant only lasts three years but officials hope it's impact lasts much longer.
Evansville's Jacobsville Neighborhood is a working class community. Now, there's a grassroots effort working to bring the neighborhood back.
"Crime affects the entire neighborhood here," said Jennifer Mason, a community mobilizer from Jacobsville Join In. "We're trying to bring as many partners together as possible to prevent those crimes.
Mason says the new federal grant will help them do just that. Jacobsville Join In, a city-commissioned community development organization, recently received a $600,000 grant aimed to address crime.
"It is for us to identify hotspots in the neighborhood as far as criminal activity is concerned and address those areas with a strategy that we're going to formulate," said Mason. "That could be actual locations or time of day or time of year where criminal activity happens."
Officials say Jacobsville is one of the city's population centers and it's an area that the Evansville Police Department knows well. The neighborhood leads the city in terms of the number of dispatched runs last year.
"With this grant, they will be able to increase police presence through overtime officers," said EPD Sgt. Jason Cullum. "They can initiate different programs. It's not always about having money to lock people up. It's about having the money to do the things that prevent crime in the first place."
The grant isn't permanent nor is it infinite but officials hope the grant's benefits will be.
"At the end of the day, what you are looking for is a neighborhood that doesn't need a $600,000 grant because they don't have those problems," said Sgt. Cullum. "And now you have your officers out in the community being proactive instead of being reactive."