FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY - June 30, 2011
PROJECT SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD: GUN/GANG VIOLENCE TASK FORCE - VIOLENT CRIME, GANG ACTIVITY DOWN IN NORTH CAROLINA
RALEIGH - In response to the report announcing North Carolina’s lowest crime rate in 33 years, United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina is continuing in their commitment to reduce gun crime through the participation and partnerships of federal, state, and local law enforcement in the Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) program.
Mr. Holding commented, “We were pleased with the numbers, however, it must be made clear that we will continue our efforts in the prosecution of violent offenders. We believe that our continued prosecution of violent recidivist offenders will sustain the decrease in violent crime that we have seen. We remain committed to working closely with our federal and state law enforcement partners as we continue to bring offenders who terrorize our communities to justice.”
Since 2002, the United States Attorney’s Office has spearheaded Project Safe Neighborhoods throughout the Eastern District of North Carolina. Project Safe Neighborhoods encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat violent offenders who continually plague their communities.
In Raleigh, the United States Attorney’s Office has partnered with the Raleigh Police Department; the District Attorney’s Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the Wake County Sheriff’s Department, to bring violent gun and drug offenders to justice. In 2008, this partnership became concerned about the extraordinarily high level of armed robberies, murders, and gang activity in the City of Raleigh and Wake County. The partnership responded and worked together to target these robbers, drug dealers, gang members, and other repeat offenders who preyed on the community.
In the past three years, almost three hundred violent offenders and drug traffickers from Wake County were prosecuted federally. These prosecutions have resulted in a decrease in violent crime. Homicides in Southeast Raleigh have fallen from 21 in 2008 to 3 in 2010. Gang-related incidents dropped from 1,417 in 2009 to 875 in 2010, a 38 percent decline.
Chief Harry Dolan commented, “The relentless and aggressive prosecution by the United States Attorney’s Office of the most violent offenders and gangsters in our community has played a significant role in the reduction of homicides and violent crimes in the City of Raleigh. In particular, the prosecution of persons who commit homicides and violent crimes by the United States Attorney’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, along with aggressive law enforcement and community outreach efforts directly correlates to a reduction in crime. United States Attorney George Holding’s relentless and tenacious leadership under the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative working with the Raleigh Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives resulted in huge dividends to the citizens of Raleigh. More importantly, people are alive today because of their efforts. Our goal now is to sustain these efforts.”
Other Project Safe Neighborhood sites in the Eastern District of North Carolina saw significant drops in crime. Cumberland County saw a 16.5 percent decline in crime and the City of Fayetteville saw a 9 percent decline. Johnston County saw a 7.4 percent reduction in crime. Pitt County, Robeson County, Nash County, and Sampson Counties also saw falling crime rates.
The United States’s Attorney’s Office remains committed to a zero tolerance for gun violence and we will continue to prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law. The PSN partnerships have been invaluable in fighting violent gun violence in the Eastern District of North Carolina. We will continue our united “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders, drug traffickers, and gang members who commit crimes.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce