In 2001, the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative to reduce gun violence nationwide.
In 2006, DOJ expanded the initiative to include an anti-gang component and provided Districts with resources to combat gang crimes within the framework of PSN.
Each U.S. Attorney’s Office across the United States is responsible for creating an anti-gun/anti-gang strategy that uses five key PSN elements: partnerships, strategic planning, training, outreach and accountability.
The District of Massachusetts has established an extensive network of law enforcement and community partners who have been fundamentally important to its strategy's success.
Since the program began, nearly $7 million in federal grant funds have been allocated to the District’s anti-gun and anti-gang efforts.
The U.S. Attorney’s PSN program in Massachusetts is also involved in the adult prisoner reentry programs at several county correctional facilities as well as juvenile reentry.
The distribution of grant funds to target cities across the state has enabled communities and organizations to implement programming focused on after-school activities, education, employment, law enforcement/community collaboration, and public service outreach projects, among others.
In Massachusetts, PSN projects have included:
- Developing and sustaining community/law enforcement partnerships in targeted communities across the state by maximizing federal resources
- Collaborating with state and local law enforcement and prosecution on gun and gang investigations and arrest sweeps
- Providing training for nearly 4,000 law enforcement personnel and community members on topics such as advancements in technology, how to empower neighborhoods for gang prevention, updates on new innovative community programs and partnerships, and officer safety training
- Undertaking community outreach projects including an anti-violence hip-hop songwriting competition, gang prevention summits and workshops in partnership with other programs
- Formulating tools to measure the performance of projects funded with PSN and other federal grant funds