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Senator Kate Bolz Introduces Legislation to Enhance Community Violence Prevention in Nebraska
January 11, 2019 (Lincoln, NE) — Senator Kate Bolz introduced legislation today to give Nebraska cities, police departments and nonprofits additional tools to fight violent crime in their communities. The legislation, cosponsored by Senator Robert Hilkemann, would increase the appropriation for Nebraska’s Office of Violence Prevention to $1,525,000 and create a new partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center for enhanced data analysis and program evaluation.
“We all continue to be shocked and saddened by instances of violence in our state, and we know the tragic outcomes that happen when we fail to prevent violent incidents in our communities,” said Senator Kate Bolz. “It’s time that we increase our state’s preventative measures against violence. We have over a decade of data showing that Nebraska’s Office of Violence Prevention empowers local governments and organizations to prevent violence in their communities and we should act on this.”
Nebraska’s Office of Violence Prevention was established in 2009 and provides over $350,000 in competitive grants process to organizations that have shown a history of documented success in helping reduce crime in Nebraska. Programs which can provide evidence-based strategy or proven success are prioritized for funding. Grantee organizations include municipalities, police departments, and nonprofits.
Before introducing the bill, Senator Bolz was joined by Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler, Omaha Senator Robert Hilkemann, Lincoln Police Captain Jason Stille, Omaha mother Salinas, Leadership Lincoln students and a number of community supporters, who pledged support for the measure.
“Keeping Nebraskans safe should be among our highest priorities as elected officials, and part of any statewide plan to reduce crime and violence involves prevention,” said Senator Kate Bolz.
Specific grantee examples include the City of Omaha’s web-based gang database project and analyst that streamlines information to provide data-informed gang policing; Lancaster County’s Operation Tipping Point, which teams Lincoln police with community partners coordinate meetings with LPS, parents and schools to reduce gang membership; the Village Basketball Alliance, which runs a 100 student basketball league shown to increase pro-social behaviors and decrease acceptance of gangs; and the Urban Youth B.O.L.T. program has averaged a total of 80 graduates annually in a 10 week program to that targets youth with minor criminal charges and works to increase positive societal attitudes through reinforcement of families and their peers.
Senator Kate Bolz of Lincoln Represents District 29 in the Nebraska Legislature