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Press Release

United States Attorney McSwain Announces Progress in Making Communities Safer through Project Safe Neighborhoods

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – Two years ago, the Department of Justice announced the revitalization and enhancement of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), 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 two years, the Department has partnered with all levels of law enforcement, local organizations, and members of the community to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. According to the FBI’s 2018 Crime in the United States Report released last month, the national violent crime rate decreased for the second consecutive year, down 3.9 percent from the 2017 numbers.

“The revitalized Project Safe Neighborhoods program is a major success,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “It packs a powerful punch by combining advanced data with local leadership, further reducing violence in communities across the country and improving overall public safety. U.S. Attorneys continue to focus their enforcement efforts against the most violent criminals and work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal police. The Justice Department’s relationships across the board have never been stronger.”

“Project Safe Neighborhoods is a proven program with demonstrated results, and since the re-launch two years ago, we can see the benefits of the program in real time right here in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,” said United States Attorney William M. McSwain. “We know that the most effective strategy to reduce violent crime is based on sound policing policies and law enforcement partnerships at every level, which is why I am committed to building those partnerships, standing up for the victims of violent crime, and enforcing the rule of law.”

“The Philadelphia Police Department recognizes that a successful violent crime prevention strategy must be comprehensive, evidence based, measurable, and include partnerships among law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders,” said Acting Police Commissioner Christine M. Coulter. “The Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program captures each of these necessary ingredients for success. We are fortunate to have been part of the re-launch in 2017, and join our partners in celebrating the program's two year anniversary, and the collective progress we have made.”

As the Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (USAO-EDPA) celebrates the two-year anniversary of the revitalized PSN program, below are some of the highlights of the district’s PSN actions over the past year.

Enforcement Actions

In the last year, USAO-EDPA has partnered with local law enforcement to ensure federal efforts are focused against the most violent offenders. The following are some excellent examples:

• In November 2018, a federal jury convicted Lukeen Gerald, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after a trial for his involvement in seven armed robberies of convenience stores throughout the city. During the robberies, he shoved firearms in the faces of many victim store employees. In one instance, he fired the gun into the ceiling of a Dunkin Donuts; the gun was so close to the victim’s head that the sound caused the victim’s eardrum to rupture. Gerald faces a mandatory minimum of 157 years for the firearms charges alone, and additional time for the Hobbs Act robbery convictions.

• In May 2019, a federal jury convicted Kevin Archie of one count of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Archie was arrested while illegally in possession of a weapon while on a street corner in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Philadelphia Police officers arrested Archie after responding to an alarming call of a man with a gun. Archie, an armed career criminal, faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison.

• Together with ATF, USAO-EDPA brought firearms dealer Kenney Cherry, of Philadelphia, to justice. In August 2019, a federal jury convicted Cherry of dealing in firearms without a license, multiple counts of felon in possession of a firearm, and other related firearms offenses. The defendant sold 24 firearms and two “machine gun” conversion devices in a short span. Cherry remains incarcerated awaiting sentencing.

• After a Philadelphia Police Inspector, who was driving home, heard multiple gunshots and witnessed two men in broad daylight pointing firearms, USAO-EDPA charged the case federally and successfully prosecuted Salim Davis. In September 2019, the office partnered with Philadelphia Police and ATF to ensure a federal jury found Davis guilty of all crimes related to his carrying a loaded Smith & Wesson .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun and an unlabeled prescription pill bottle containing 72 Alprazolam pills he had to sell. Davis remains incarcerated awaiting sentencing.

Community Partnerships

• The PSN Call-In Program consists of regular, face-to-face call-ins of individuals who were recently released from state custody to warn them of the consequences of committing any further crimes. The Call-In program is a partnership with local, state, and federal law enforcement, as well as community members and service providers. Working closely with the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, the program ensures connections to critical assistance and support to the released individuals. Since 2013, USAO-EDPA has hosted 17 Call-Ins with over 300 state parolees.

• Launched in October of last year, Relapse Prevention Court (RPC) maximizes opportunities for long-term recovery from substance use and facilitates successful completion of participants’ terms of supervised release. RPC held its first graduation in October to celebrate its participants’ successful completion of the program.

• USAO-EDPA is an active participant in state-wide Reentry Coalitions comprised of representatives from government, law enforcement, non-profit organizations, and community groups. The Coalitions work on various projects to coordinate resources, create partnerships and improve delivery of reentry services in the counties of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Aggressive Response Throughout EDPA and in Philadelphia in Particular

• Even though FBI data shows that violent crime has decreased in the United States from 2017 to 2018, Philadelphia has seen a disturbing uptick in the most serious types of violent crime, such of homicides and shootings.

• To attempt to address (and contain) this growing issue in Philadelphia, USAO-EDPA has aggressively increased its focus on PSN cases and violent crime prosecutions in general over the past two years.

• For example, in FY2019 (October 2018-September 2019), USAO-EDPA brought charges against 195 defendants in PSN cases, compared to 80 in FY2018 - an almost 144% increase in one year. Much of this increase has been driven by the situation on the ground in Philadelphia.

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. The Department of Justice 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. To learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods, go to


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Updated November 15, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods