Northern Indiana Project Safe Neighborhood Initiative (PSN)
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.
A major goal of PSN is to incorporate research and data analysis, and lessons learned from other violent crime reduction initiatives, to inform its decision-making on the most effective violence reduction strategies.
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.
PSN Target Areas
PSN has expanded to focus on the entire Northern District of Indiana which includes the Northern most 32 counties. Special emphasis areas are identified in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, St. Joseph, Elkhart, Allen and Tippecanoe Counties. Under the PSN program we have expanded the definition of a PSN case to include any firearm offense or violent crime (to include arson, robbery, carjacking and kidnapping) or any prosecution against a targeted priority offender.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal agencies work with local law enforcement and community organizations to develop strategies for both short term and long term violence reduction.
Community Engagement/Prevention Efforts
The South Bend Group Violence Intervention Program (SBGVI) consists of community leaders from areas of law enforcement, government, education, civil service, and faith-based agencies whose goal is to reduce gun violence. The strategy involves coordination to identify the individuals and gangs who drive violence in the South Bend community and focus crime prevention efforts on those individuals and gangs. Quarterly call in meetings take place in which 15-25 individuals who have been identified as the highest risk citizens are informed of law enforcement capabilities and given the opportunity to meet with social service providers to begin a path away from violence. Two to three times a year, enforcement actions are initiated wherein individuals identified by SBGVI as drivers of violence in the community are targeted for law enforcement and local and federal prosecution efforts. SBGVI has also recently added outreach teams whose goal is to make citizens more comfortable with reporting information without fear of reprisal.
Like South Bend, Gary employs a group violence reduction strategy under the guidance of the National Network for Safe Communities. The strategy in Gary also includes call in meetings attended by individuals identified as the highest risk citizens. The citizens who attend are often those on state and federal probation and parole who have histories of committing violent crimes.