Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a collaborative effort by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and communities to prevent and deter gang and gun violence. The U.S. Department of Justice has committed millions of dollars nationwide to this effort. This funding has been used to hire new federal, state and local prosecutors, support investigations, provide training, distribute gun safety locks, deter juvenile gun crime and develop and promote community outreach efforts.
In the District of Idaho, the PSN Task Force has engaged in strategic planning with federal, state and local law enforcement; strengthened partnerships among law enforcement agencies to improve gang and gun violence investigations and prosecutions; engaged in public outreach; provided training to state and local law enforcement; and sought community involvement in the fight against gang and gun violence.
Idaho’s PSN Task Force is constantly looking for better ways to curtail gang and gun violence. It has developed case-screening mechanisms to help determine the best jurisdiction for prosecution of gang and gun cases, and identified and focused resources on "hot spots" - specific geographic areas that have experienced an increase in gang and gun violence.
The U.S. Attorney is committed to working with state and local agencies to appropriately deploy law enforcement resources. Assistant United States Attorneys work with county prosecutors to select the appropriate jurisdiction for prosecution of gun cases. The U.S. Attorney's Office also works hand-in-hand with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to bolster federal firearms investigations. This includes participating in the Metro Treasure Valley Violent Crimes Task Force, a co-located unit comprised of agents with the FBI and ATF, sheriff deputies, and police officers dedicated to reducing gang and gun violence in the Treasure Valley.
Since 2006, the U.S. Attorney partnered with local leaders throughout the Treasure Valley to create a new specially-deputized prosecutor dedicated to prosecuting violent Treasure Valley violent offenders, gang members and organizations in federal court. Since the Special Assistant United States Attorney began in 2007, 242 defendants have been prosecuted federally; the vast majority of these defendants were sentenced to federal prisons outside Idaho.
The U.S. Attorney's Office is proud of its efforts to get the PSN message to the public. In the past, locally-produced radio and television spots carry the message across Idaho, while newspapers and radio stations continue to broadcast news of the stiff sentences handed out to gun and gang defendants.
Training and Community Involvement
The U.S. Attorney's Office provides training to state and local law enforcement in an effort to effectively work as a community to prevent gun and gang violence, successfully prosecute those who pose a danger to our community, and to work with those defendant's reentering the community after serving a prison sentence.
In the past, the U.S. Attorney's Office has partnered with the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections and the Idaho Juvenile Justice Commission to sponsor Youth Summits. The Summits brought together key Treasure Valley leaders from law enforcement, corrections, government, community organizations and faith-based groups to develop strategies to prevent youth from joining gangs and to help gang members leave the gang lifestyle.
More recently, the PSN Task Force met with local agencies to address effective ways to reduce truancy in the Treasure Valley. Additionally, PSN grant money has been awarded to the Jerome County Sheriff's Office and the Caldwell City Police Department to assist them in combating gang violence in their communities.
Our greatest asset in combating gang and gun violence is the citizens of Idaho. Every time illegal gang and gun activity is reported, the potential for violence in the community is reduced. If you have any information about illegal gang or gun activity, please contact your local police department or sheriff's office.