Project Safe Neighborhoods Targets Communities Most Affected By Gun Violence
St. Thomas, USVI - United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced today that as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative, and in conjunction with the Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA), a series of community meetings are presently taking place throughout the Virgin Islands to discuss and address criminal activity, including the escalating gun violence in the Virgin Islands. The goal of these meeting is to afford those persons most affected by gun violence an opportunity to meet and hear from law enforcement and other agencies charged with keeping our communities safe, and to provide a forum for community members to voice their concerns and needs.
The most recent meeting was held at the Community Center in Tutu High-Rise. During this lively two-hour event, a standing room only crowd heard from 14 Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) partners about ways to make the Tutu Community safer. The question and answer period following the presentations allowed residents and community members to voice their concerns about how to make their community safer, about the need for neighborhood cameras, and about the large number of guns entering the territory. Residents were also encouraged to complete a Crime Perception Survey, which was provided at the meeting. Once compiled and analyzed, these surveys will greatly assist law enforcement in identifying how violent crime is affecting our community, and how best to combat it.
Over the past several months, meetings have also been held at Oswald Harris Court, Contant Knolls, Bergs Home and Smith Bay in St. Thomas. The next meeting will be held at the Pearson Gardens Community Center, St. Thomas, on December 10, 2013 at 6:00 p.m., and a meeting is being planned for Grove Place in St. Croix. Follow-up meetings will also be held.
United States Attorney Sharpe noted that the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide commitment to reducing gun crime in America by marshaling federal and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit offenses involving firearms. United States Attorney Sharpe also commended the following PSN partners who are participating in these meetings and reaching out to the community: Virgin Islands Police Department, Virgin Islands Attorney General’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service, Crime Stoppers, Virgin Islands Housing Authority, My Brothers Workshop, Weed & Seed St. Thomas and St. Croix
“To end violent gun crime, we need to bring together law enforcement, prosecutors, community members, and community-based organizations,” United States Attorney Sharpe said. “Creating effective partnerships between the community and both law enforcement and non-law enforcement agencies is the first step in combating these crimes.”
For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, please visit: www.psn.gov.