Project Safe Neighborhoods
Launched in 2001, the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program is a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials, prosecutors, community leaders, and other stakeholders to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. PSN is coordinated by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the 94 federal judicial districts throughout the 50 states and U.S. territories. PSN is customized to account for local violent crime problems and resources. Across all districts, PSN follows four key design elements of successful violent crime reduction initiatives: community engagement, prevention and intervention, focused and strategic enforcement, and accountability.
On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN so that it is built on newly articulated core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results of our efforts. And the Department expressly underscores that the fundamental goal of this work is to reduce violent crime in the places we call home, not to increase the number of arrests or prosecutions as if they were ends in themselves.
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. Historically, 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.