News and Press Releases

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Wednesday - September 24, 2003

(*Amended - September 25, 2003)

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced today the launch of a national advertising campaign pertaining to gun violence and its effects not only on the victims and those doing the crimes, but also on the families of the criminals. This campaign has been developed by the National Ad Council in Washington, D. C., in conjunction with President Bush's National Gun Crime Reduction Program, known as Project Safe Neighborhoods. The ad campaign highlights an important component of the Project Safe Neighborhoods strategy, Community and Media Outreach. U. S. Attorney Whitney said, "It is not enough that we arrest and prosecute these gun cases, we must also educate the community regarding our position and let them take ownership of the program." To that end, the National Ad Council developed the new campaign entitled: Mothers' Pain Powerful Weapon Against Gun Crime. The ads present vignettes of the consequences of gun crime in an effort to show how gun crime adversely affects not only the perpetrators and direct victims but also the families of those who choose to use a gun illegally. Prison sentences and death that result from gun crimes devastate every aspect of the American family.

This campaign, which includes 60-second and 30-second public service announcements, is being fed into local media markets by satellite beginning today.

Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is President Bush's Number Two National Priority behind Terrorism. This war against guns is referred to as the War Against Domestic Terrorism in the form of guns and gun violence. Nationally the statistics are staggering. In 2001, firearms were used in more than 63% of all homicides, and 77% of murder victims of the ages 13-24 were killed with a gun. According to U. S. Attorney Whitney, "Our goal in the Eastern District of North Carolina is to stop gun crimes, swiftly and effectively, through the team efforts of each PSN site."

Project Safe Neighborhoods and the six task forces working in Raleigh, Fayetteville, Greenville, Wilmington, Lumberton, and Johnston County, as well as other rural areas in the district, are diligently working together to reduce gun crime. PSN is a five- pronged, comprehensive program designed to address the individual issues of each locality as they relate to gun crimes and gun violence. The five essential elements are Partnerships, Strategic Planning, Training, Community and Media Outreach, andAccountability. The PSN Partnerships bring together federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified fight against gun crime. Through these unprecedented partnerships among law enforcement, U. S. Attorney Whitney has begun to implement the core elements of Project Safe Neighborhoods in a manner that fits the specific gun crime problems of each locality. There are four major PSN sites in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The PSN initiative in RALEIGH, known as T.R.A.C. (Targeting Raleigh's Armed Criminals), represents the cooperative efforts of the U. S. Attorney's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Raleigh Police Department, and the Wake County Sheriff's Office.

In FAYETTEVILLE, the PSN initiative is called Operation CeaseFire and is a working cooperative among the U. S. Attorney's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Fayetteville Police Department, the N. C. Department of Correction, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

*A similar PSN initiative in WILMINGTON, Operation CeaseFire/Wilmington Violent Crime Task Force, includes the U. S. Attorney's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Wilmington Police Department, and the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office.

The fourth major PSN site is located in GREENVILLE, and its task force includes the U. S. Attorney's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Greenville Police Department, and the Pitt County Sheriff's Office.

PSN Task Force Initiatives also have begun in LUMBERTON andJOHNSTON COUNTY. In both locations, task forces have been developed with the local police departments and sheriff's offices.

Any questions regarding the campaign and Project Safe Neighborhoods may be directed to Assistant U. S. Attorney Jane J. Jackson, PSN Coordinator, U. S. Attorney's Office.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney's web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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