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Johnson City crime reduction program receives national honor

August 26th, 2014 8:56 am by Gary B. Gray

Johnson City crime reduction program receives national honor

Police talk with people in downtown Johnson City (Becky Campbell/Johnson City Press)

The Johnson City Targeted Community Crime Reduction Project has garnered regional recognition for its success.

The National Criminal Justice Association awarded the crime-reduction project its Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award for the Southern Region on Aug. 12 at the National Forum on Criminal Justice annual luncheon in Breckenridge, Colo.

“What makes the Johnson City Targeted Community Crime Reduction Project unique is the true collaboration and the willingness to find new and better ways to address crime and recidivism,” said William Scollon, Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs director. “Between the project evaluators and the many local partners, both funded and unfunded, there is little doubt about sustainability with this project.”

The Johnson City-based program is structured to prevent crime, rebuild neighborhoods, improve law enforcement and provide offender intervention for probationers and parolees. Program efforts include evidence-based prevention, enforcement and intervention strategies to reduce juvenile delinquency, as well implementing Data-Drive approaches to crime and traffic safety, crime mapping software and neighborhood and business watch initiatives.

The TCCRP also collaborated with the local corrections community to create a unique probation in the state of Tennessee, a day reporting center that builds coping skills, sobriety, and education and job opportunities for probationers and parolees.

Since the program began in April 2013, the TCCRP has implemented 19 initiatives to achieve its goal and Johnson City has seen overall reductions in arrests and incidents.

At Science Hill’s Alternative School, juvenile disciplinary actions decreased from two incidents per child to 1.6 incidents per child, while juvenile absences from the school dropped 15.8 percent, according to TCCRP Director Becky Haas. In areas of high crime targeted by TCCRP actions, the number of neighborhood incidents has decreased by 26 percent and arrests declined by 19 percent.

Business owners and residents also have reported that they feel safer and that the quality of life has improved. By the collaborative effort of the local corrections community, the program created the first probation of its kind in the state of Tennessee, a Day Reporting Center that builds coping skills, sobriety, education, and job opportunities, as well works to reduce recidivism for probationers and parolees.

“The Targeted Community Crime Reduction Project is honored to receive this prestigious award and recognizes that the success of the program is due to the collaboration and commitment of the many partnering agencies involved,” Haas said.

Awards are given out annually to five criminal justice programs as a way to seek out and share successful criminal justice programs that merit recognition for providing effective services to address crime-related issues in their communities. The winning programs are innovative and can document concrete results.

For more information on NCJA, visit http://www.ncja.org. To learn more about the Outstanding Criminal Justice Program awards and view previous winners visit http://ncja.org/outstanding-criminal-justice-program-awards.

Like Gary B. Gray on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Gary-B-Gray. Follow him on Twitter @ggrayjcpress.

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