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Project Safe Neighborhoods

Project Safe Neighborhoods

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Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun and gang crime in America by networking existing local programs that target such crimes by providing these programs with additional tools necessary to be successful. Since its inception in 2001, significant funding has been used to hire federal and state prosecutors, support investigators, provide training, distribute gun locking safety kits, deter juvenile gun crime, and develop and promote community outreach efforts, as well as support other gun and gang violence reduction strategies. In October 2017, the Attorney General announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to develop districtwide crime reduction strategies, incorporating the lessons learned since the program’s inception. In the Middle District of Florida (MDFL), U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials, and community partners.

MDFL PSN efforts are districtwide, with a special focus in the Tampa region through the Tampa Bay Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force, and in Jacksonville, through the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Gun Unit. Similar strategic initiatives are also underway in the Orlando and Fort Myers areas. Over the past 17 years, core PSN elements have been sustained in the MDFL by working closely with federal, state, and local partners to develop comprehensive strategies. These cooperative efforts have led to many successful prosecutions in both state and federal courts.

While much of PSN is designed to target criminals and bring prosecutions, each year MDFL personnel devote hundreds of hours to deliver proactive anti-violence messages to students and citizens through various presentations and community forums. USAO outreach specialists work directly with task forces to focus efforts on designated “hot spot” areas and convene discussions on “Guns, Gangs, and Goals” to high-risk youth and deliver the “National Gun Pledge” to thousands of students each year. Our ongoing mentoring efforts in our PSN communities include the Guys with Ties Program; Royalty Program; Lockhart Lunch Buddies, and the OCPS Academic Center for Excellence Mentoring Program.

 

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