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Project Safe Neighborhood: Revitalized in 2018
Project Safe Neighborhood: Revitalized in 2018
What is Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN)?
Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and community leaders to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.
Robert M. Duncan, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Lou Anna Red Corn, the Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney, along with the Lexington Police Department (LPD), the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and other local, state and federal law enforcement partners announced a new working group to enhance the joint effort to combat violent crime and drug trafficking in Lexington.
The working group, which met formally for the first time on January 18, 2018, meets twice a month. The new working group joins two existing violent crime reduction efforts, the Cease Fire Project and the Fayette County Violent Crime Task Force, under one working group, to enhance coordination of efforts and available resources.
The collaboration is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s enhanced Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, a violent crime reduction program incorporating long-standing law enforcement partnerships to help produce a long-term, meaningful reduction in violent crime. PSN is a comprehensive approach to public safety, one that includes prevention, enforcement, and reentry efforts.
The working group will focus its efforts on individuals responsible for violent crimes and significant drug trafficking activities in the area, including those who commit acts of violence while armed with a firearm and those who commit armed drug trafficking. As part of the collaborative partnership, members of the LPD, FCSO, ATF, FBI, DEA, and the other law enforcement partners meet regularly to share intelligence and to review cases about the most violent offenders in Lexington, including those cases in which the offender’s conduct involves possession or use of a firearm. The cases are evaluated to insure that the most significant penalties will be applied to the offenders, whether in state or federal court. The ultimate goal of the collaboration is to reduce violent crime and make Lexington neighborhoods safer for everyone.
“As Attorney General Sessions has confirmed, combatting violent crime, reducing access to drugs, and partnering with state and local law enforcement efforts are top priorities for the Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Duncan. “By combining our resources and working together to investigate and prosecute the most violent individuals in Lexington, we are sending a clear message that we will protect our communities against those who do them harm. If you are using firearms to commit acts of violence or are illegally selling drugs you are on notice: your conduct will not be tolerated; and if it continues, you risk arrest, prosecution, and the forfeiture of your freedom.”
“The Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney Office has worked closely with the United States Attorney’s Office on the Cease Fire Project for many years,” said Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn. “Cease Fire focuses primarily on armed career criminals. Our local Violent Crimes Task Force (VCTF) began meeting regularly in October 2016, with a goal of sharing information and reducing criminal activity committed by gang members. The joining of Cease Fire and the VCTF under the enhanced PSN program, along with the education, prevention, and reentry efforts, gives us a real opportunity to impact violent crime in Lexington, and I am glad for this collaborative initiative.”
In addition to enforcement, the PSN program also incorporate prevention and education efforts. “We want to encourage partnerships within our communities, not just within the law enforcement community,” said U.S. Attorney Duncan. As part of those efforts, PSN participants will meet with various community organizations, civic groups, and schools to better understand the community’s needs, to provide education about the dangers of violent crime, and to look for positive solutions to reduce crime and increase safety.
Additionally, the PSN program is supportive of reentry meetings in which those returning from prison sentences are provided information about transitioning to free society, and the potential consequences for continuing to commit crimes.
This announcement observes U.S. Attorney General Sessions’s directives to federal law enforcement and prosecutors: reinvigorate the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program, in an effort to reduce rising violent crime in America and combat access to illegal drugs, particularly opiates and opioids.