The Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) Program is a strategic approach to crime reduction that leverages community knowledge and expertise by focusing on community-led efforts, working with law enforcement and other local partners to support prevention and intervention efforts on neighborhoods where crime is concentrated or crime “hotspots.”
BCJI invests in jurisdictions with significant crime challenges that want long-term solutions and are willing to incorporate all four elements of the BCJI model. It helps communities build trust with and support law enforcement agencies working with these communities as well as planning and enhancements to physical space through nuisance laws, code enforcement, and community revitalization efforts tied to community-based crime reduction efforts.
The approach is data- and research-led, using this information to understand and target the issues. The last year BJA received a BCJI appropriation was 2021. Current grantees have a focus on community violence intervention efforts as well.
BCJI projects involve two phases:
- The first is the Action Plan Development, or Planning, phase. In this phase, the cross-sector partners collaborate closely on identifying crime hot spots. The partners collaborate with local law enforcement to conduct an analysis of crime drivers and an assessment of needs and available resources. The partners then identify the range of crime prevention and reduction strategies they want to pursue during the implementation phase. To complete the planning phase, the partners must submit an Action Plan to BJA for approval that serves as a roadmap for implementing strategies. This strategy describes: the specific hot spots and crime drivers; use of various data sources to understand and prioritize crime hot spots; and a direct link between the strategies proposed and the crime drivers analyzed. The plan also demonstrates the criminal justice nexus for the strategies that are linked with revitalization and justifies innovative strategies or strategies based on the site’s theory of change and/or logic model.
- The second phase is the Implementation phase where the partners implement the strategies identified in the approved Action Plan. In this phase, the partners continue to convene regular meetings with cross-sector partners, research partners, and the management team. The partners also identify and develop a sustainability strategy for longer-term implementation of BCJI Program core principles, including the active role of neighborhood residents.
Goals, Objectives, and Program Approach
To achieve BCJI program goals, successful BCJI cross sector teams commit to accomplishing the following objectives (these objectives may vary depending upon the type of BCJI grant award):
- Convene, lead, and meaningfully engage a broad cross-sector partnership team that must include law enforcement, other criminal justice partners, neighborhood residents, and relevant community stakeholders. Communities are also strongly encouraged to include a research partner or research team as part of the cross-sector team.
- Target communities with a concentration of chronic hot spots of crime, which can include violent and serious crime and/or drug related crime.
- Address crime issue(s) that must represent a significant proportion of crime or type of crime within the larger community or jurisdiction.
- Employ a range of data-driven, cross-sector strategies (enforcement, prevention, and intervention) connected with revitalization efforts to reduce crime and violence.
- Establish effective partnerships both to provide solutions and commit resources to sustain what works.
- Work closely with the BCJI TTA provider to implement a comprehensive and coordinated strategy.
- Assess program implementation in collaboration with research partners, and plan for sustainment of effective strategies with private and public state, local, and tribal funding.
The BCJI Program is part of BJA's Smart Suite of programs. These programs invest in the development of practitioner-researcher partnerships that use data, evidence, and innovation to create strategies and interventions that are effective and economical. See the Smart Suite page for more information about programs and related resources.