Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a results-oriented, collaborative approach to public safety that utilizes law enforcement and community partnerships and data-driven strategic enforcement efforts to focus on criminals who drive violent crime. The goal is to improve the quality of life and safety of all residents of the community by employing a comprehensive strategy to reduce gang-related violent crime and illegal gun possession.
On October 5, 2017, Attorney General Sessions reprioritized and enhanced the PSN program, with new technologies, better accountability, and stronger partnerships with local communities, making it the centerpiece of the Department’s violent crime reduction strategy.
Elements of a PSN Program
Every PSN program incorporates these elements:
- Leadership by the United States Attorney to convene all partners;
- Partnerships with the community and at all levels of law enforcement;
- Targeted enforcement efforts that:
- utilize the full range of available data, methods, and technologies to identify the offenders that are driving violent crime rates in the most violent locations in the district; and
- ensure prosecution of those offenders in the federal, state, local, or tribal system – whichever provides the most certain and appropriate sanction;
- Prevention of additional violence through efforts such as:
- ensuring public awareness of the violent crime reduction strategy and results;
- communicating directly with offenders about the consequences of their violent behaviors; and
- supporting local crime prevention and offender reentry efforts;
- Accountability for results based on outcomes (reduction in violent crime), not merely outputs (numbers of investigations or prosecutions).
At each PSN site, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, using the resources of the Department of Justice and in cooperation with community members, develops targeted, localized violent crime reduction strategies, tailoring solutions to each individual community.
MDNC PSN Sites
The following map shows the location PSN programs and locations under development in the Middle District of North Carolina in as of October 1, 2019:
Through our partnerships in each PSN location, we target resources on individuals who are driving violent crime and bring them to justice. Across the Middle District, more than 50 law enforcement agencies have worked with nearly 200 community resource agencies using PSN strategies to reduce violent gun and gang crime since 2001.
Since PSN began in 2001, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has been involved in more than 350 offender local notification meetings reaching more than 5,000 offenders with the message that violence by those offenders will not be tolerated by their community.
What is a notification? Violent repeat offenders are “called-in” to meet with community representatives, law enforcement, and community resource providers to receive the message that violence must stop; a resource delivery structure is in place to support those who need assistance to change their behavior; and that if any notified individual commits a violent “trigger incident,” (as defined by the site) they will receive swift law enforcement sanctions.
Sustained Violent Crime Reduction
The PSN strategy leads to sustained reduction in violent crime. Analysis of previous crime reduction initiatives over the past decades has taught us that to have a truly significant and lasting impact, the Department must take a comprehensive approach. The PSN program helps build effective partnerships with state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners. It enhances community capacity to obtain and analyze timely crime and other data to guide strategies and enable communities to measure the impact of their efforts. PSN helps maintain an edge in the attack on violent crime by providing expansive training and support for federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials and prosecutors. And, PSN provides support to help convey the priorities, message, and results to the media and community members. PSN is key in building a powerful and lasting coalition with citizens to empower them to be agents of change in their own communities to make them safer.
Research at Michigan State University (available here) confirms that faithful implementation of the PSN model reduces violent crime.