Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation
San Antonio, Texas
Target Area: Eastside - Population: 75,159
BCJI Awardee: WestCare Texas, Inc.
Research Partner: Community Epidemiology Workgroup
Focus Areas: Violent Crime, Drug Trafficking, Drug-Related Crime
BCJI Funding Year: FY 2019
San Antonio's Eastside, home to the city's first and largest community of African American residents, is also home of the Eastside Promise Zone (EPZ), a 22-square-mile area of 19 contiguous census tracts and 10 zip codes. The population is 62 percent Hispanic/Latino, 26 percent Black/African American, and 8 percent Caucasian.
Promise Zones were identified in 2014 to allow local leaders in high-poverty areas to work strategically with the federal government to reduce crime, boost economic activity and job growth, improve educational opportunities, and leverage private investment for improved quality of life. These are opportunities in short supply in the Eastside, the most neglected area of in San Antonio for economic development, infrastructure development, and social resources. EPZ census tracts exceed the San Antonio and national poverty rates by approximately 14 percent. The area has become a hot spot for drug trafficking, drug use, and related crime.
However, the EPZ area hosts several assets. They have 16 active neighborhood associations and a strong faith-based charitable sector that includes 62 churches and 52 non-profits. The area also hosts a Drug-Free Community grantee and received an Eastside Promise Neighborhood Implementation grant, as well as a Choice Neighborhood Initiative Implementation grant.
The lead organization, WestCare Texas (WCTX), will utilize the evidence-based Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMHSA) Strategic Prevention Framework for planning during all project phases. They aim to implement realiistic and attainable strategies, objectives, and outcomes that address specific crime drivers identified in the planning process. Strategies and objectives will include a continuum of solutions and coordinated resources of partners from multiple funding streams. The project activities will work towards sustainable results, including coordinated enforcement, prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood revitalization strategies that build the capacity of residents, partners, and law enforcement.
WCTX's role will include:
- Providing project management and financial oversight of the BCJI grant;
- Leading, managing, coordinating, and maintaining positive partner and resident relations;
- Implementing and evaluating grant activities;
- Facilitating a steering committee, a cross-sector team, and resident engagement meetings;
- Establishing a case management and data collection information system;
- Providing a capacity-building training for residents;
- Conducting activities with law enforcement that will further positive police-community-relationships;
- Securing additional resources and leveraging existing resources to successfully implement strategies, programs, and activities;
- Providing Neighborhoods First Alliance workers and Public Allies to engage residents; and
- Mobilizing and organizing neighborhood associations to implement evidence and neighborhood-based crime prevention and reduction strategies.
The site plans to implement multiple and diverse strategies across various sectors with a common goal of increasing resident and community involvement, as well as changing the internal factors, such as behaviors, and the external factors, such as the physical environments in which chronic crime flourishes.
Other Key Partners
San Antonio Police Department, San Antonio Fighting Back, Neighborhoods First Alliance, San Antonio Code Enforcement, U.S. Attorney's Office, AmeriCorps Public Allies, Chrysalis Ministries, Crosspoint Treatment Center, Ella Austin Community Center, Winner's Circle Tactical Solutions, San Antonio Growth for the Eastside, Bexar County Reentry, San Antonio Housing Authority, Family Services Association, Bexar County Child Welfare Board, Harvard Place/Eastlawn Neighborhood Association, Denver Heights Neighborhood Association, Bethel Prevention Coalition, George Gervin Academy, Bexar Community Supervision and Corrections, Beat AIDS
This project is supported by Cooperative Agreement No. 2018-BJ-BX-K035 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues.