Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a nationwide U.S. Department of Justice commitment to reduce gun and gang crime in our cities and towns. Currently in the Middle District, PSN primarily functions in coordination with local District Attorneys’ Offices, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI’s Safe Streets Program, illegal firearms investigations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the anti-gang initiatives of the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Marshal’s programs to find and arrest fugitives arrested on local criminal charges and violators of state sex crime registration requirements.
This nationwide initiative calls for U.S. Attorney’s Offices to focus their resources on violent offenders, violent street gangs, leaders of drug organizations and financial crimes. U.S. Attorneys are asked to identify the most serious violent crime concerns in communities within their individual districts and, by working together with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, concentrate their efforts on these concerns. Heroin distribution, firearms offenses and prescription drug abuse are at the top of the priority list for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Therefore, vigorous prosecutions, as well as substantial sentences and forfeitures of crime-derived assets, will be the objectives in all such federal cases in the District.
Combating Violent Crime
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has adopted a renewed strategy for reducing and preventing violent crime in the Middle District of Pennsylvania focusing on the Harrisburg, York, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport areas. Federal, state and local law enforcement officers have joined forces to coordinate their activities in these high-crime areas and are vigorously enforcing the laws which punish gun offenses, gang activity, drug-related crimes and other acts of violence.
The anti-violence strategy consists of the following key elements:
- identifying communities which are most in need of anti-violence solutions;
- targeting high-priority offenders in those communities for aggressive prosecution;
- conducting regular meetings of federal and local law enforcement officials to collect reliable data on local violent crime trends, share intelligence, screen cases for potential federal prosecution and coordinate joint enforcement activities;
- expansion of existing prevention and post-conviction reentry programs.
Federal law carries severe penalties for prohibited individuals who possess firearms and for those individuals who commit violent crimes or serious drug offenses while possessing or using firearms.
Violent crime damages and destabilizes our neighborhoods, challenging or citizens as they strive to raise their families and be productive members of society. By coordinating efforts with our state and local law enforcement partners, we can ensure that limited law enforcement resources are being brought to bear in the most effective way possible to protect the people we serve.
Heroin And Opioid Trafficking
The United States Attorney’s Office has a policy to aggressively prosecute all heroin and opioid cases and request substantial sentences for all individuals who traffic in these deadly drugs.
Heroin and opioids today is not a life style or a business – it is a killer. The steep increase in heroin and opioid addiction and the alarming rise in deaths due to heroin and fentanyl overdoses, particularly in young people, are a state-wide and national problem, but also a deep personal tragedy for many families. Much of what can be done will be through education, additional funding, medical help, counseling and rehabilitation. But those who sell or otherwise put heroin and other deadly opioids in the hands of others, are knowingly dealing in possible death or serious harm to users and should pay heavily for their greed and callous indifference. Our heroin and opioid policy is intended to emphasize that point.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue its efforts to raise public awareness by developing a community education plan which will not only incorporate some of the office’s prior community outreach activities but will also add new features such as creating a formal multi-media presentation highlighting the dangers and warning signs of opioid abuse and offer tangible solutions. The presentations will be made throughout the Middle District by experienced prosecutors, law enforcement officers, medical professionals and other appropriate individuals to schools, businesses, civic organizations, and prisoners soon to be released into the community.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office will coordinate with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to identify individuals most in need of treatment and direct those individuals to appropriate treatment providers and facilities at the earliest time.