U.S. Attorney John F. Wood announced the 1,000 conviction under Project Ceasefire.
(Click here to download a high-resolution version of this photo.)
1,000 convictions mark Project Ceasefire milestone
KANSAS CITY - John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, was joined by law enforcement and community partners to mark a significant milestone in Project Ceasefire, the district's nationally recognized anti-crime initiative. Wood announced that 1,000 defendants have been convicted of illegally possessing firearms under Project Ceasefire, an initiative launched in late 1999 to target felons in the Kansas City metropolitan area who illegally possess firearms.
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One thousand signs were posted to dramatically illustrate the significance of the 1,000th conviction
under Project Ceasefire. (Click here to download a high-resolution version of this photo.)
Project Ceasefire, the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative in the Kansas City, Missouri area, is recognized nationally as being not only one of the first anti-gun violence programs, but one of the most successful. In 1999, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri partnered with the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission to develop and implement a strategy to reduce gun violence. Through contributions from the area business community and foundations, Project Ceasefire was launched. A large advertizing agency, Valentine Radford, played a tremendous role in negotiating advertizing on billboards, TV, and radio, designing a unique Ceasefire logo, and working with research analysts. The information provided by the research enabled Ceasefire to determine a target audience and geographic areas where the program's impact could best be evaluated.
In June 2002, Project Ceasefire was also launched in the Springfield, Missouri area in partnership with the Greene County Prosecutor's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
The target population of the educational aspect of Project Ceasefire
is aimed at convicted felons. State and federal authorities estimate that
about 12,000 persons are currently under some form of release supervision
(probation or parole) and that the total number of convicted felons in
the metropolitan area may be as high as 30,000! In 2001, the research
indicated that Project Ceasefire had reached over 92% of the targeted
audience, felons. However, more significantly, research revealed that
while the number of crimes committed with firearms had increased, the
number of crimes relating to felons in possession of firearms in the target
areas in Kansas City had significantly decreased.
Through the extensive media blitz using television, billboards, print ads, mailers and other sources, it is believed that many felons themselves, or under pressure from their families, have chosen not to carry a firearm. There are also one-on-one contacts with felons exiting the penal system to make them aware, through Ceasefire, of the consequences of carrying a firearm. Since it is well established that many crimes are committed by convicted repeat offenders, this program will have a major impact on the community's gun crime rate, thus making the Kansas City and Springfield areas safer places in which to live, raise families, do business and visit.
By educating these persons as to the federal laws and mandatory punishments attached to felons carrying firearms, it is expected that the entire population of the target areas will benefit in many ways. These benefits include a decrease in violent crime, fewer firearms injuries and deaths, less disruption to the families of felons due to arrests, injuries, deaths, and family violence, and a lower rate of arrests and incarcerations of convicted felons for firearms offenses.
Project Ceasefire initiative also intends to reduce violent crime by those felons who continue to choose to carry firearms or use them in the commission of crimes by educating the public, as well, on this issue. In these cases, citizens in the Kansas Ctiy area will be informed to call the existing Crime Stoppers (816) 474-TIPS Hotline, also sponsored by Ceasefire's parent organization, the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission.
Project Ceasefire shares common goals with Project Safe Neighborhoods in that, if felons are dissuaded from carrying firearms, it is very likely that a high number of crimes against persons or property will not occur. It is also hoped that without the ready availability of a firearm, family violence may be avoided in the homes of these felons.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Becker receives the Project Safe
Neighborhoods Achievement Award during the national
conference. Presenting the award is Principal Associate
Deputy Attorney General William W. Mercer.
(A high-resolution version of this photo may be downloaded here.)
Assistant U.S. Attorney receives national Achievement Award
KANSAS CITY - Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Becker received a Project Safe Neighborhoods Achievement Award during the national conference in Denver, Col., today. Becker, chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force and the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Coordinator for the Western District of Missouri, was recognized for Outstanding Individual Contribution to a Gun Crime Task Force.
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Click here to review the Quick Reference to Federal Firearm Laws