Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Targeted Community Crime Reduction Program (TCCRP)

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): TN

Jurisdiction(s): Johnson City

Grantee Agency: Johnson City

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2012/$800,000

About the Program:

The Targeted Community Crime Reduction Projects (TCCRPs) in Tennessee seek to instill in each community a strong planning component which looks at high crime areas in the city and works toward reducing that crime. This is done through extensive research into the root causes of the crime, an evaluation of the resources available, development of evidence-based strategies to mitigate the problem, advancement of government and private partnerships both inside and outside the criminal justice system and an ongoing evaluation of the strategies and overall project.

Johnson City’s TCCRP targets two high crime neighborhoods, the Downtown and Mountain Home areas. These neighborhoods were identified through a comparison of TIBRS Group A and B crime mapping data. The focus of the project is the reduction of drug and violent crime through a four pronged strategy of prevention, neighborhood revitalization, enforcement, and offender intervention. These strategies are implemented through the assistance of 6 funded and 15 unfunded partners.

Prevention
There are four major prevention activities being implemented. Students at Science Hill Alternative Learning Center are receiving an evidence-based program called Positive Action. The educators at this school developed a unique delivery method for the Positive Action curriculum by incorporating the program principles into their daily classroom activities. This innovation has been supported by the curriculum’s developers and is being recognized as a welcome modification to a nationally recognized evidence-based program model. The PATROL program targets at-risk youth residing in public housing developments located in the target zones. PATROL helps Johnson City Police Department to develop community relationships and mentor change in youth. The project is also establishing both neighborhood watch and business watch programs. Neighborhood Watch is focused in the more residential of the two target zones. The purpose of Neighborhood Watch is to recruit and train residents to participate in reporting suspicious activity within their neighborhood. Business Watch is based in the Downtown target zone with a focus on providing education and ongoing support to local merchants related to crime prevention strategies that can be implemented around business locations.

Neighborhood Revitalization
Strategies include: increased codes enforcement in the target zones; rehabilitation of owner occupied and renter housing units; conducting home repairs involving volunteers from the Appalachia Service Project and area churches; coordination of regularly scheduled neighborhood involved clean-ups in the target areas coordinated through Johnson City’s beautification program, organizing public art "throw-downs"; a street lighting improvement project and the establishment of community gardens.

Enforcement
Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS), and Scanning, Analysis, Research and Action (SARA) are being utilized as a part of this project. Johnson City Police Department officers obtain training and implement proactive policing and zero-tolerance enforcement practices, organized by daily crime data mapping and hot-spot manpower utilization which has been made possible by the full-time crime data analyst and new crime mapping software. Officers use the Department’s Problem Solving Kit, converted to an electronic version for the officers’ Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). The goals of the enforcement strategy are to decrease the number of aggravated assault incidents, increase the number of prostitution arrests, increase the number of arrests for drug possession, sales, manufacturing and paraphernalia, and to improve perceptions of the Johnson City Police Department.

Offender Intervention
The project has established a groundbreaking Day Reporting Center for probationers and parolees living in targeted areas. Referrals are made from offenders living in the target area or individuals who committed crime in the target area. In the event there are not enough referrals from the target area, referrals can be made of any high risk, high need felony offenders living in Washington County. Final program acceptance is based upon court order from the judges.

Risk/needs assessments are conducted on all referrals. Clients report to the Center for the following programs when determined appropriate: drug screening, employment skills training, Thinking for Change (T4C) and GED classes. Drug and alcohol counseling as well as mental health counseling are provided at First Tennessee Human Resource Agency by Frontier Health for both male and female offenders.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

Program Successes
Program highlights include providing an evidence based curriculum, namely, Positive Action for the local alternative high school program. During the planning phase, it was determined that Positive Action would be provided as an afterschool program. As planning meetings continued, the opportunity arose to implement the program school wide, making the alternative school the first high school in Tennessee to use the curriculum this extensively. Goals included reducing absences in the high school so students would be in the classroom more, resulting in improved performance on standardized tests. Since implementing Positive Action last August, the number of absences has been reduced by 15.8%. Initial data suggests Positive Action has had a beneficial effect on student absences, thus improving teacher to student contact. Also during this time, it was noted that last school year students received in-school or out-of-school discipline at a rate of 2.0 incidents per child compared to this year, in which students have received in-school or out-of-school discipline at a rate of only 1.6 incidents per child. In order to provide incentives for improved school attendance, grades and attitudes, local businesses have made generous in-kind donations of food, movie tickets, and restaurant coupons.

Effect on the Community
Through surveys collected in the targeted areas during the planning phase, it was identified that many residents considered the neighborhoods “unsafe” at night due to a lack of lighting. This prompted the TCCRP Director to initiate a lighting survey utilizing grant funds to pay for overtime incurred by members of the City Codes Department in helping to conduct it. As a result of this survey, dozens of existing street lights were identified as burned out or broken and this information was then submitted to the Johnson City Power Board which took timely action to make the necessary repairs. Then, in meetings with the City's Planning Department and members of the Police Department, an overlay map was created which revealed that the areas in the target neighborhoods with highest rates of drug-related and violent crime were also areas with a severe lighting shortage. Plans are currently underway to add additional street lights, but by working with the support of neighborhood associations in these areas, "Operation Night Light" was initiated. Information was mailed to each resident encouraging the use of porch lights at night for those who live in an area lacking sufficient public lighting. Residents were informed the cost of running a typical 60-watt incandescent bulb 12 hours a day was only $2.19 a month.

Further prompted by information from the lighting survey, the TCCRP Director worked with the Johnson City Police Department crime analyst to prepare a report on crimes by time of day. This report revealed that the highest time of day for crime in one of the target areas was at 2:00 a.m. which was the same time the Community Policing shift had been ending. Using this information, 19 officers were then trained for a special zero tolerance operation which was implemented from mid-August through the end of October, and resulted in neighborhood incidents declining 26% and arrests down by 19%.

In June 2013, a Day Reporting Center (DRC) was opened providing the community with a gender specific, high intensity, three-phase program where clients are court ordered to attend as an alternative to prison. When the DRC was still in the planning stages, local Goodwill Industries partners offered to create a position for developing a job readiness program in order to teach those who were previously incarcerated employment skills such as resume writing, online job search, and digital literacy. The courses are now not only offered in the DRC, but in some of the other partnering agencies as well. Also, the University of Tennessee Extension Program of Washington County made available an extension agent who now facilitates weekly classes on parenting skills and dating/marriage relationships. It should be mentioned that the DRC is the first probation program of its kind in the state of Tennessee.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Becky Haas
Project Director
Email: BHaas@johnsoncitytn.org
Phone: 423-434-6105

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