U.S. Attorney’s Office Announces Project EJECT, Project Safe Neighborhoods and Project Guardian Grant Funding for the Southern District of Mississippi
Jackson, Miss. – United States Attorney Mike Hurst announced today the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice has awarded over $130,000 in grant funding to three recipients in the Southern District of Mississippi under Project EJECT, Project Safe Neighborhoods, and Project Guardian. The goal of these various U.S. Attorney’s Office and DOJ programs is to fight and reduce violent crime in communities throughout our country.
“Today’s grant awards will further the shared goal among our office, the Department of Justice, and local law enforcement agencies in fighting and reducing violent crime throughout our communities. Gangs and their members continue to have an outsize influence on the crime we see around our state, and my hope is that this funding will help to turn the tide against these criminal organizations that are wreaking havoc on our fellow citizens and our neighbors. We are putting our money where our mouth is, and continuing this fight alongside our local partners against evildoers throughout our state,” said U.S. Attorney Hurst.
The City of Jackson received $70,649 in grant funding to fight gangs and combat violent crime in the Capital City. According to the City’s application, the Southern District’s “largest gang presence is focused in Jackson[,]” and “[s]treet gangs are a signficiant part of the crime problem in Jackson. These gangs are actively involved in drug distribution, weapons, and a wide range of violent activity.” The Jackson Police Department (“JPD”) will use this grant funding to “cut off the flow of young people to Jackson’s street gangs.” JPD will also utilize this grant funding to purchase software, equipment and technology to ”improve [their] knowledge of the gang structure in our community and target the 'worst of the worst’ gang members in Jackson.”
The Long Beach Police Department received $7,302 to implement a campaign they are calling “Lock It or Lose It” which will promote the locking of vehicles and homes to deter burglaries, violent crime and murders. As Long Beach Police Department noted in their applications, numerous guns have been stolen from Long Beach and used in violent crime throughout the Southeast. “Within the last year, one firearm was stolen from a vehicle in the City of Long Beach and used in a murder in Jackson, Alabama, of which the offender was from Moss Point, MS. Another was used in a drive by shooting in Moss Point, MS. Most recently, a stolen firearm was recovered in a narcotics raid in Harrison County. All three firearms were stolen from unlocked vehicles in Long Beach. The most recent string of auto burglaries was committed by gang members from Hattiesburg, MS, who traveled to Long Beach for the purpose of burglarizing unlocked automobiles.” This innovative and creative strategy has the potential to help reduce burglaries and theft of firearms, and concomitantly shrink violent crime.
Finally, the Copiah County Board of Supervisors, under a program to be administered by the District Attorney’s Office for the 22nd Circuit Court, received $55,070 in grant funding to combat violent crime and gangs. According to their application, “within the 22nd Circuit Court District, incidents of violent crime and gang related activities continue to impact a large segment of our communities . . . Through interviews with witnesses, victims and criminal defendants, the District Attorney’s Office has observed that many violent crimes involved gang members or affiliate gang members.” Using this grant money, the District Attorney’s Office intends to form a Task Force of local law enforcement and the Youth Court to identify, monitor and increase prosecution of violent crime and gang activities, and intervene, educate and train juveniles not to join gangs or engage in violent crime. This grant funding will be used to hire personnel to collect and analyze the data statistical information on violent crime and gang activities within the district, as well as train law enforcement on these topics with the goal of reducing violent crime in the 22nd Circuit Court District.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi remains committed to supporting our state, local and tribal law enforcement, community organizations, faith-based groups, and our fellow citizens in order to reduce violent crime throughout our district. These funds distributed through the Project Safe Neighborhoods will give communities the resources they need to implement local, comprehensive, and collaborative responses to violence. The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is the Fiscal Agent of this grant process.
Project EJECT is an initiative by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) and Project Guardian. EJECT is a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to fighting and reducing violent crime through prosecution, prevention, re-entry and awareness. EJECT stands for “Empower Justice Expel Crime Together.” PSN is bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.