(Cleveland) - The United States Department of Justice has awarded the City of Cleveland a $1 million grant aimed at improving the Mount Pleasant neighborhood by expanding crime prevention programs, continuing targeted enforcement efforts and increasing programs for people returning to the neighborhood from prison.

Funding is through the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program. The money will be disbursed over three years. Cleveland is just one of only five cities to receive a full $1 million grant.

“Community engagement is a crucial part of the solution,” said Michael Walker, executive director of the Partnership for a Safer Cleveland.

Walker tells Newsradio WTAM 1100, “Making arrests in and of itself will not prevent violent crime. We’re trying to work with community organizations to develop solutions the community can take ownership of.”

Walker says the grant requires city leaders to work closer with citizens, organizations, and local institutions to reduce crime and violence.

He believes the grant should be a call to action for Mt. Pleasant residents to get involved in making their neighborhood a better place.

Cleveland Police in action in Mt. Pleasant neighborhood.

The grant will target the Mount Pleasant neighborhood on Cleveland’s southeast side, running along Kinsman Avenue between Lee Road and East 93rd Street.

Among the programs earmarked for funding through the grant:

The continuation of the VGRIP gun suppression efforts, in which Cleveland police and federal agents work together to crack down on gun violence, often leading to federal prosecution of felons illegally in possession of firearms.

The expansion of Stand Together Against Neighborhood Crime Everyday (STANCE), Fugitive Safe Surrender 2014, in which law enforcement and clergy work together to establish a safe location for non-violent fugitives wanted for low-level felonies to turn themselves in.

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(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)

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