President Biden knows what makes our communities safer: investing in community policing and crime prevention. We need to fund police officers who keep the beat, know the neighborhood, are accountable to whom they are sworn to serve, and build trust and safety in the community. We need to invest in mental health and substance use treatment services, crisis response forces and social workers to reduce the burden on police officers and prevent violent crime. We need to scale up violent interventions in the community – led by trusted ambassadors who break the cycle of violence and trauma. We must enforce our sane gun laws, require background checks on all gun sales to prevent firearms from getting into the hands of felons and domestic abusers, and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines—weapons of war that have no place in our communities.
President Biden took actions during his first 18 months in office to make our communities safer:
- Police funding and improving police accountability. Other politicians talk about funding the police, but President Biden and congressional Democrats actually did it by passing the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Over $10 billion in ARP funding has already been allocated to police and other public safety efforts — including at least $6.5 billion in state and local funds allocated in more than 300 communities across the country. Coupled with ongoing support from the Department of Justice, ARP’s 2021 investments were among the largest single-year federal commitments to state and local law enforcement and public safety on record. President Biden also signed a historic executive order promoting effective, accountable policing that will build public trust and strengthen public safety. Leading civil rights organizations and law enforcement organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police support this order.
- fighting gun violence. President Biden is implementing his comprehensive gun crime reduction strategy. The Biden administration has taken more executive action to reduce gun violence than any other president in her administration at this point, including curbing the proliferation of ghost guns and cracking down on gun dealers and renegade arms dealers. The president was the first president in nearly 30 years to bring together congressmen from both parties to end gun violence and sign the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The President also secured Senate confirmation of Circuit Attorney Steve Dettelbach as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, providing that law enforcement agency with its first confirmed chief since 2015.
- Investing in community-driven crime prevention and intervention. States and cities across the country have used ARP funds to invest in public safety strategies such as summer jobs for young adults and substance abuse and mental health services. Through the bipartisan budget agreement and bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the President has secured $300 million to expand violent interventions in the community. The Biden administration has also made changes to 26 different federal programs to provide additional funding for evidence-based violent interventions. And the Department of Labor is investing in employment programs to help ex-prisoners successfully return to their communities.
The President believes we can and must do more to reduce crime and save lives. Today, President Biden is building on those advances with his Safer America Plan. President Biden’s fiscal 2023 budget provides for a fully paid new investment of approximately $35 billion to support law enforcement and crime prevention — in addition to the president’s $2 billion discretionary request for the same programs. The plan he is releasing today outlines for the first time how that $37 billion will be used to save lives and make communities safer.
Specifically, the Safer America Plan:
- Funds the police and promotes the effective prosecution of crimes that affect families today. The Safer America Plan will provide communities with the resources they need to keep our streets safe, including helping them hire and train 100,000 additional police officers for accountable community policing (nearly $13 billion in… the next five years through the COPS recruitment program) and set aside special funds for small law enforcement agencies. At the same time, this plan will invest nearly $3 billion to help communities clear court backlogs and solve homicides so we can get gunmen and other violent criminals off the streets, including by helping communities build task forces to Exchange information to drop the gun Violence rates. The plan also aims to tackle other serious crimes affecting families today. The plan provides for tougher penalties for trafficking in fentanyl. To combat organized retail theft, the plan calls for Congress to pass legislation that would require online marketplaces like Amazon to verify third-party information and hold online marketplaces liable for selling stolen goods on their platforms.
- Invest in crime prevention and a fairer criminal justice system. The Safer America Plan will invest in services that address the root causes of crime and reduce the burden on police to focus on violent crime, including mental health and substance abuse services; Crisis workers, violence interrupters and social workers; and expanding access to job training, education, housing and other supportive services that prevent crime and promote justice. The plan provides for a new $15 billion grant program called Accelerating Justice System Reform that cities and states can use over the next 10 years to advance policies that (1) prevent violent crime and/or (2) reduce Reduce Police Officer Burden Identify non-violent situations that may merit a public health or other response. It is also investing an additional $5 billion in evidence-based community violence intervention programs. The plan calls for ending the crack powder disparity and making the resolution retroactive. The plan will help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully return to society, including by removing nearly all restrictions on eligibility and access to vital federal benefits and programs people need to get back on their feet after leaving incarceration come.
- Takes additional sensible steps on weapons to keep dangerous firearms away from dangerous hands. The president has already proposed a 13% increase in funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) so the ATF can hire new agents and investigators to help cities track firearms and measure crime scene ballistics analyze. The President will also continue to ask Congress to take additional action regarding guns, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, closing the injunction loophole on dating violence, and the ban the manufacture, sale or possession of desialized “ghost weapons”.