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Press Release

Two-Year Anniversary of Whole-of-Law Enforcement Approach to Combatting Illegal Firearms

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
U.S. Attorney and Law Enforcement Partners Share How They Use Data to Identify, Investigate, and Prosecute Drivers of Gun Violence and the Results of Those Efforts

            WASHINGTON – U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves joined Special Agent in Charge Craig Kailimai, of the Washington Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Washington Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Acting Special Agent in Charge Matthew Saul of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal and Cyber Division, and Executive Assistant Chief Jeff Carroll of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), to update the public on the process they put in place two years ago to review every firearms arrest in the District of Columbia, looking at data about the person arrested and data about the firearm they possessed to determine whether they should be prosecuted in U.S. District Court or in D.C. Superior Court.

            The office and our partners refer to this effort as, “Project Safe Neighborhood” (PSN). In the two years since this PSN process was put in place, the office has accepted 127 firearms cases for federal prosecution.

            Among the cases accepted as part of PSN:

  • the average age of the defendant was 30 years old;
  • 38% had gang or crew affiliations;
  • 21% had a previous homicide arrest;
  • 54% had a previous robbery arrest;
  • 52% were suspects in previous shootings;
  • 22% were arrested with a machine gun conversion device;
  • 13% were arrested with a privately made firearm;

            These cases continue to make their way through the criminal justice system, with over 50 defendants having already been sentenced or found guilty after either a trial or a guilty plea.

            “The work we have done between this Project Safe Neighborhood effort and our other efforts have collectively taken hundreds of drivers of violence out of our community over the last couple years,” said U.S. Attorney Graves. “This group of law enforcement partners has spent a substantial amount of time identifying those driving violence within our community and developing investigations designed to hold them accountable so we can remove them from our community.  Removing this many drivers of violence has an impact on community safety.” 

            “Project Safe Neighborhoods is one of our most valued partnerships to date. The program frequently offers an immediate solution to swiftly removing prohibited possessors of firearms from our communities.” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Kailimai, “If a prohibited person is encountered by ATF or one of our partnering agencies and happens to meet the agreed upon criteria, the violators will be recommended for federal prosecution.”

            “Echoing the words of United States Attorney Graves and my colleagues, DEA works diligently to protect the American public by conducting daily investigations and operations to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations and criminals that pose a threat to our communities and endanger our citizens,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Forget. “A key strategy to halt this violence is our collaboration with state, local, and federal partners. Project Safe Neighborhoods is an example of our collaborative approach to violence prevention, aimed at protecting the well-being of Washingtonians and beyond.”

            “The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to reduce violent crime in the District through targeted strategies like Project Safe Neighborhoods,” said FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Matthew Saul. “Seizing firearms linked to previously convicted felons allows us to promptly remove drivers of gun violence from our communities and prosecute them for their crimes.”

            “As our officers work hard day in and day out to remove guns from our communities, collaboration with our federal law enforcement partners is vital to making sure we can hold offenders accountable,” said MPD Chief Pamela A. Smith. “Project Safe Neighborhood is doing just that. Collectively the work of this program and many other initiatives we have with our federal partners and the US Attorney’s Office allow us to make our communities safer by removing the people that are driving gun violence and fear into our neighborhoods.”

Updated April 17, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 24-331