U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser Announces Progress in Making Our Communities Safer Through Project Safe Neighborhoods
NEW ORLEANS - One year ago, the Department of Justice announced the revitalization and enhancement of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which Attorney General Sessions has made the centerpiece of the Department’s violent crime reduction strategy. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
Throughout the past year, we have partnered with all levels of law enforcement, local organizations, and members of the community to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.
“Project Safe Neighborhoods is a proven program with demonstrated results,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “We know that the most effective strategy to reduce violent crime is based on sound policing policies that have proven effective over many years, which includes being targeted and responsive to community needs. I have empowered our United States Attorneys to focus enforcement efforts against the most violent criminals in their districts, and directed that they work together with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners to develop tailored solutions to the unique violent crime problems they face. Each United States Attorney has prioritized the PSN program, and I am confident that it will continue to reduce crime, save lives, and restore safety to our communities.”
Here in New Orleans, our PSN partners have worked diligently to strengthen relationships among federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutors’ offices (state and federal) to streamline communications, investigations and prosecutions. As an example, ATF agents are assigned to each NOPD district in an effort to increase case referrals and information sharing. Furthermore, several commanders of NOPD, along with representatives of ATF, FBI, DEA, USMS, USAO, the OPDAO, gather on a bi-weekly basis to discuss problems within the PSN target area, suspects and gangs, ongoing investigations and strategic enforcement efforts, and to hold each partner accountable for its role in these efforts. Furthermore, the PSN coordinator from the USAO meets with NOPD detectives and Orleans Parish assistant district attorneys to discuss ongoing gang and violent crime investigations and to determine courses of action, including which prosecutor’s office will be handling the long-term gang/violent crime prosecutions and how the other office can assist.
As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the revitalized PSN program, here are some of the highlights of our PSN actions over the past year:
- Enforcement strategy:
- The United States Attorney’s Office continuously collaborates with Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, the New Orleans Police Department, and federal law enforcement, including FBI, ATF, DEA, and USMS to address violence in the New Orleans Metropolitan Area.
- Bi-weekly meetings with the above partners to discuss ongoing investigations and strategies and to determine progress.
- Assignment of ATF special agents to each NOPD district to maximize information-sharing, streamline case referrals and build partnerships.
- Community Engagement and Prevention:
- Re-entry collaboration; School programs to reduce violence, such as Project L.E.A.D., promotion of the Student Pledge Against Gun Violence national program, participation in the United States Probation & Parole Office and U.S. Attorney’s Office, EDLA Boss for a Day Program, and participation in National Night Out Against Violence; NOPD bicycle giveaway to children in the most high-risk areas; Coffee with the Community; and Community Peace Walks.
Improvements to Community Safety
- The FBI’s official crime data for 2017 reflects that, after two consecutive, historic increases in violent crime, in the first year of the Trump Administration the nationwide violent crime rate began to decline. The nationwide violent crime rate decreased by approximately one percent in 2017, while the nationwide homicide rate decreased by nearly one and a half percent.
- The preliminary information we have for 2018 gives us reason for optimism that our efforts are continuing to pay off. Public data from 60 major cities show that violent crime was down by nearly five percent in those cities in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same period a year ago.
- Here in New Orleans, our information from the first six months of 2018 shows that we should have the same shared optimism we have nationwide. Homicides have decreased by 6.1%, when compared to the first six months of 2017. Additionally our rate for armed robberies decreased by 14.5% from the first six months of 2018, when compared to the first six months in 2017.
- Those numbers reflect real impacts that our strategies are having, which makes us hopeful about the future and the continued effects we can have on reducing violent crime in the streets of New Orleans. We recognize we still have a lot of work before us and we are invested and committed to making our community a better and safer place.
The United States Attorney, Peter G. Strasser, would like to thank our dedicated partners invested in PSN, specifically, the New Orleans Police Department, the Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Probation and Parole, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Marshal Service, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office and our community members.
These enforcement actions and partnerships are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime. Learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods.