Project Safe Neighborhoods is an initiative that establishes a program for reducing gun violence in the District of Columbia. Building upon the success of Operation Ceasefire, Project Safe Neighborhood develops a more comprehensive, multifaceted strategy, designed to focus on those persons committing violent offenses with the use of firearms, the firearms they employ, and the communities that have fallen prey to gun violence. The program consists of five core elements: partnerships, strategic planning, training, accountability and outreach. The community outreach component will continue to build upon established collaborative efforts and partnerships in order to deliver our anti-gun, anti-violence message to both the community at large as well as to the offenders that commit firearms-related crimes in our City.
Working with Offenders Under Supervision to Reduce Recidivism
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Metropolitan Police Department have partnered with the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) to participate in their Mass Orientation Program. For several years, CSOSA has held special meetings for those offenders who are new to the supervision of parole and probation. These Mass Orientation meetings provide individuals with the rules and regulations for a successful supervision experience. As a result of our new partnership initiatives under Project Safe Neighborhoods, CSOSA has invited the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the MPD to play a role in these meetings, providing the opportunity to present a deterrence message to offenders who are new to supervision. Together, these three criminal justice agencies provide a clear, unified voice to the offender population in an effort to further reduce recidivism.
Comprehensive Gun Tracing
The Metropolitan Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regularly trace all firearms recovered in the District of Columbia. In 2003, law enforcement agencies seized 1,931 guns from the streets of our City. There have been a number of instances in the past few months where gun traces have provided the conclusive evidence required to present firearms charges against offenders. In one such instance, two individuals got into a scuffle with employees at a restaurant in the Adams Morgan section of DC. The offenders left the establishment and were later seen in a vehicle. Upon seeing the suspects and confirming they committed the assault, the officers arrested them and located a firearm under the passenger seat. Subsequently, the ATF traced the weapon, and discovered that it was purchased a few months earlier by the defendant who was seated in the passenger seat of the vehicle. As a result of this evidence, the defendant pled guilty to both the assault charge and the gun possession charge. This is one of many examples where gun tracing has provided the necessary evidence to hold criminals responsible for their actions and make the streets of our City safer.
Citywide Conference on Gun Violence
In January 2003, the PSN Task Force sponsored a day-long Citywide Conference on Gun Violence. With funding and support provided by the Community Policing Consortium and George Washington University, this conference convened over 300 representatives of community organizations, city residents, government agencies and federal and state law enforcement to discuss the issue of firearms violence in our community.