Attorney General Eric Holder today cited three examples of innovative anticrime programs he credited to officials and experts who are willing to think outside the box. Holder spoke at a White House Conference on Gang Violence Prevention and Crime Control that was held without the attendance President Obama, who is vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard. Holder’s first example was the project in High Point, N.C., to disrupt drug markets that was developed by David Kennedy of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. As described by Holder, law enforcement officials target the most violent offenders for prosecution, then go to lower-level, non-violent offenders and say, “This is what will happen to you if you don't get your act straight.”
Another program praised by Holder was “Summer Night Lights,” run by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development. Said Holder: “It literally turns the lights on in parks where crimes often occur, and offers recreational, educational, and artistic activities instead.” The Attorney General cited the New York Police Depratment’s Real Time Crime Center as “an example of smart, data-driven prevention.” The center uses satellite imaging and mapping techniques to point officers to locations where suspects are likely to flee. Holder noted that his department has awarded more than 3 billion dollars in aid to states and localities on anticrime programs through the federal economic stimulus law.