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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

U.S. Attorney Charles E. Peeler Announces Progress In Making Georgia Communities Safer Through Project Safe Neighborhoods

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.”  

“Project Safe Neighborhoods is a common sense approach to reducing violent crime by forming partnerships between the United States Attorney’s Office and federal, state, and local law enforcement and district attorneys to identify, arrest and prosecute the most violent individuals,” United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia Charles E. Peeler said.  “I want to thank law enforcement across our district for their assistance with this initiative.  It is making a real impact.  Our office looks forward to continuing to work with our law enforcement and community partners to further reduce violent crime in the Middle District of Georgia.”

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 Actions

Since the revitalization of Project Safe Neighborhoods, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia has partnered with federal, state and local law enforcement officials in creating PSN Task Forces in Albany, Athens, Columbus, Macon, Americus and Valdosta.  These task forces meet at least once a month to identify violent gun, gang and drug offenders for federal prosecution.  Some examples include: 

  • In Albany, Georgia, the United States Attorney’s Office in coordination with the United States Marshals Service, Southeastern Regional Fugitive Task Force, Albany Police Department, Georgia Department of Community Supervision, Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office, Dougherty County Police Department and Dougherty County District Attorney’s Office conducted Operation Arrowhead resulting in more than 50 arrests of violent drug, gun and gang offenders.  https://www.albanyherald.com/news/local/law-enforcement-agencies-announce-joint-crackdown-on-crime/article_e3d7e5da-07d4-5285-986b-68559523f1c5.html
  • In Milledgeville, Georgia, a Project Safe Neighborhoods prosecution led to the conviction of over 13 defendants including one defendant, Delma Goddard, who will be facing a minimum mandatory sentence of 125 years in federal prison.   https://www.macon.com/news/local/crime/article215849345.html
  • In Macon, Georgia, in an effort to target violent offenders, the United States Attorney’s Office in coordination with the United States Marshals Service, Southeastern Regional Fugitive Task Force, Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, Bibb County District Attorney, FBI, ATF, and DEA launched Operation Shockwave which resulted in the arrest of 46 individuals, and removal of eight firearms and multiple pounds of ecstasy from the streets of Macon.        https://www.macon.com/news/local/crime/article217017325.html 
  • In Columbus, Georgia ten defendants were indicted and arrested on Federal Firearms and Narcotics violations in a sweep coordinated by the United States Attorney’s Office, United States Marshals Service, Southeastern Regional Fugitive Task Force, Columbus Police Department, Georgia Department of Community Supervision, Muscogee County Sheriff’s Department, Muscogee County District Attorney’s Office, FBI, DEA and ATF.      https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdga/pr/ten-indicted-and-arrested-federal-firearms-and-narcotics-violations-sweep

 

Community Partnerships

Business leaders across the Middle District of Georgia assist PSN Task Forces by evaluating Project Safe Neighborhood grant requests to ensure that federal money is used where it can make the biggest impact reducing violent crime.  Partnerships between federal, state and local law enforcement, the private sector and community groups are instrumental to reducing violent crime across our district. 

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.
  • Since the formation of the PSN Task Forces in the Middle District of Georgia, the homicide rate in Albany, Georgia has dropped by 30% and in Columbus, Georgia by 10% during 2018.

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.

For further information, please contact Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or pam.lightsey@usdoj.gov.

Topic(s): 
Office and Personnel Updates
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Updated October 15, 2018