The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico has developed a strategy to accomplish its goals by establishing a strong partnership among the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Steering Committee partners to aggressively identify and attack criminal organizations and individuals responsible for gun and gang crimes in order to ensure that the communities in our jurisdiction remain safe.
The Alliance for a Drug-Free Puerto Rico assisted in creating outreach projects for youngsters up to 21 years old to prevent involvement in drugs and illegal firearms crimes. Behavior shaping workshops are provided by specialists at communities and schools covering decision-making, peer-pressure, resiliency, self-esteem, dealing with rejection, and drug prevention, and prevention of illegal firearm use. Other workshops include: barbering training, confection of jewelry, cosmetology; art, drama, music and dance classes; and sports.
The Municipality of Ponce contributes by the creation of recreation programs for children and youth. The Municipality of San Juan implemented a sports program through its Police Athletic League which included: baseball, volleyball, basketball and martial arts for children between the ages of seven (7) and seventeen (17) from at-risks communities.
The Puerto Rico Police Department helps the strategy through a Safety Task Force that targeted high-crime communities in San Juan. The strategy has included workshops and conferences for the youth about the consequences of carrying a firearm and the use and abuse of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
The US Marshals Fugitive Task Force continues to target and apprehend both, federal and state fugitives, wanted for crimes of violence such as: narcotics related crimes, sex crimes, gang related and weapons trafficking offenses and to encourage youth and enable them to engage in positive activities that have been proven to be a powerful way to prevent violence, gang involvement and the use of illegal arms and drugs.
The ATF Violent Crime Impact Teams collaborates by identifying, investigating and arresting individuals that generate firearms violence and DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams tactical and quick-response provides support to PSN investigations by conducting surveillance, collecting intelligence, obtaining indictments and help with arrests of gun and gang related crimes offenders.
The Puerto Rico Institute of Forensic Sciences, a full-service forensic facility, contributes to the initiative’s efforts by providing technicians that input data into the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network Database.
Our district has developed a successful joint strategy between PSN and the Narcotics Strike Force groups. Since November 2005, the work of the 10 Strike Forces operating around the island has resulted in multi-defendant indictments against over two thousand-six hundred (2,600) violent offenders, with an impressive ninety-nine percent (99%) conviction rate and the seizure of narcotics and hundreds of firearms and rifles. Strike Force cases are a joint effort between local, non-profit, federal and local agencies in Puerto Rico. The strategy contemplates that these joint efforts will continue in order to accomplish our goals. Law enforcement operational plans include attacking the gang problem by introducing informants, undercover agents and indicting those most violent offenders who have prior felony convictions.