In keeping with the Attorney General’s mission to reduce violent crime, the Northern District of Georgia’s Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) program focuses on prosecuting those individuals who most significantly drive violence in our communities, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct.
PSN is working in partnership with local and state law enforcement to ensure that federal efforts are focused on the most violent offenders, by specifically:
- Maintaining ongoing efforts to reduce violent crime in the English Avenue neighborhood of Atlanta and by also identifying additional communities in Clayton, Henry, and Troup Counties as PSN target enforcement areas. These enhanced enforcement efforts include targeted crime prevention in neighborhood schools and focused deterrence concerning gang-affiliated offenders currently incarcerated, but pending release back into local communities; and
- Building on the success of the District’s Violent Repeat Offender (VRO) program implemented in 2012 in metro Atlanta to address persistent violent crime. The VRO initiative was expanded to include the Rome, Gainesville, and Newnan Divisions. Read more about the VRO program here.
For example, our office has prosecuted the following cases as a part of PSN's increased focus on targeting drivers within our local communities:
- Twenty-three Ghost Face Gangsters federally indicted on RICO and other charges
- Crew sentenced for illegally purchasing 33 guns and trafficking them from Georgia to New York
- Darknet international gun traffickers sentenced
- "135 Pirus" gang members indicted on murder in aid of racketeering and other charges
- Bank robber sentenced to 14 years in prison
- Armed career criminal sentenced to 25 years for violent carjacking
- Our office implemented a comprehensive crime prevention and reentry strategy to complement PSN’s enforcement efforts. Our office partnered with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, the Georgia Department of Corrections, and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, to implement a Credible Messenger initiative to intervene with high-risk juveniles and adults who will be released to PSN target enforcement areas and other areas within the District with high rates of violence. The Credible Messenger Model utilizes individuals who can relate to and build trusting relationships with committed and incarcerated youth and adults, as well as their families. Credible Messengers are often neighborhood leaders, experienced prevention and reentry specialists, and individuals with relevant life experiences (usually including their own involvement with the criminal justice system) who coach, guide, mentor, facilitate and advocate for youth and young adults who have been imprisoned for gun-related and gang-related crime. Overall, Credible Messenger Models demonstrate a proven track record of deterring crime, reinforcing pro-social behaviors, improving relationships between stakeholders and community members, increasing engagement with social programs and services, and fostering compliance with court mandates.
- As a part of the PSN’s Credible Messenger initiative, Arthur Powell, founder of EGRESS Consultants and Services, LLC, began a six-month workshop in August 2018 with the Georgia Department of Corrections, Metro Reentry Prison, for a cohort of incarcerated male adults who have been adjudicated for gang- or gun-related activity. EGRESS teaches these individuals to employ strategies to deal with the circumstances that led them to engage in criminal activity or to join criminal street gangs.
- Offender Alumni Association (OAA) is a non-profit, grass-roots movement modeled after the concept of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). OAA deploys offenders to help empower other adult offenders and their family members in actively reducing crime and restoring communities. OAA offers peer-to-peer support in strengthening family relations, community revitalization, engaging inmates behind the wall, and removing the stigma associated with being a convicted felon. In 2018, OAA established a Support Forum in Clayton County and Fulton County, as well as facilitated Support Forums inside of the Metro Reentry Facility for incarcerated individuals prior to release. To date, OAA has served more than 130 current or former incarcerated individuals, along with their families, to assist with their transition back into the community.
Freedom is a Choice, Inc. is an organization that mentors engage high-risk, high-needs youth in PSN communities within Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton and Henry Counties. These mentors schedule weekly contacts with mentees and engage in monthly group mentoring sessions that utilize the Forward Thinking Interactive Journal Series, a cognitive-behavioral evidence-based strategy that assists justice-involved youth in making positive changes to their thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Local News About Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN):
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, Byung J. "BJay" Pak speaks with community partners at our Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) rollout in Rome, Georgia.
- U.S. Attorney Pak talks crime prevention in Newnan, Georgia
- Law enforcement, community fight crime on two fronts in Clayton County, Georgia
- Feds tout convictions as Clayton, Henry crackdown starts
Laurel Boatright, Assistant U.S. Attorney
Project Safe Neighborhoods Coordinator
75 Ted Turner Drive NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: (404) 581-6002
Danielle Sweat Whylly, Ph.D.
Community Outreach Specialist
75 Ted Turner Drive NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: (404) 581-4646