Springfield Gets Million Dollar Grant To Expand Crime Prevention Program

Springfield officials are expanding a crime prevention program that uses military counter-insurgency tactics into the city’s South End. They announced Monday a $1 million grant from the US Justice Department for the program.

The strategy developed by the state police is called Counter Criminal Continuum or C3 policing, which is based on the military’s counter-insurgency programs.

Mayor Domenic Sarno says a partnership with State Police and the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department will target the South End’s Hollywood section, a distressed neighborhood that has been undergoing redevelopment but continues to be plagued by poverty, street crime and gang violence.

“People want in the neighborhoods, whether it’s downtown or any of our 17 neighborhoods across the city of Springfield, quality of life. And number one, they want to be able to feel safe,” Sarno says.

Police Commissioner William Fitchett says C3 policing has been used in the city’s North End for the past three years. He says a combination of aggressive arrests and community relations, including job training and healthcare, has begun to show positive results.

“You can make a significant change if you concentrate your effort in a small area, then hope that it blossoms out into the rest of the community. And generally, it does.”

Officials say Springfield is one of only 14 cities nationwide awarded the Edwin Byrne Memorial Grant – named after a New York City police officer killed on duty.