And Mr Howard also gave details of a new £15m closed circuit television (CCTV) challenge competition. The contest will help provide up to 10,000 more CCTV cameras in high streets and other areas.
The Crime Prevention Agency will build on the partnership approach to fighting crime. It will encourage community involvement; develop new ideas to help prevent crime and reduce the fear of crime; identify what works and pass on details of successes to others. It will pull together the efforts of bodies both inside and outside government to improve co-ordination and effectiveness.
'This agency will take crime prevention techniques into the 21st century,' Mr Howard said.
'I want to build on the many success stories in cities, towns and villages - to involve the whole community in fighting crime.
'This body will look to develop partnerships, to involve young people, and to spread good ideas in crime prevention.
'It will be the mortar to bind together the bricks of crime prevention - making a solid wall to keep out the criminal.
'We're showing the criminal a united front. We're telling him that the chances of him being caught if he steps out of line are constantly increasing.'
The new body will be managed by a new Crime Prevention Agency Board which will bring together the three main national organisations involved in crime prevention - the Home Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers and Crime Concern.
This will ensure the effective co-ordination of the crime prevention strategies of all three bodies.
One of the Agency's current projects is the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Challenge competition, which will be open to any community partnership, regardless of location.
Bids will be assessed in terms of partnership appraisal, quality, effective targeting and value for money.
The maximum amount that any one scheme will receive will be £250,000.
Mr Howard said: 'CCTV beats crime. When it is used properly, with other crime prevention measures, CCTV can have a startling effect.
'This massive amount of money shows the government's commitment to fighting crime through the latest, state-of- the-art technology and to supporting the police's own efforts.
'CCTV can prevent crime happening, help the police investigate crime, identify suspected criminals and reduce the fear of crime on our streets.'
Invitations to co-ordinate local bids are being sent to local authority chief executives and chief officers of police. All those who bid in the last competition will also receive copies of the bidding guidance.
Applications from individual people, businesses or organisations acting alone will not be considered.