PSN is a commitment to adequately address and reduce the rising gun and gang crime in the SDTX. The PSN Steering Committee has continued in its multidimensional approach which focuses on aggressively investigating and prosecuting gun and gang crime in state and federal court and on networking existing local prevention/intervention, investigative or prosecution programs that target this violence and providing these programs with the additional funding necessary to be successful.
During 2009-2010, the level of gun violence in the SDTX increased due to a rise in gang activities and the continued legacy of criminals from the Katrina evacuation. Because such a high percentage of the gang activity in the district involves the use of firearms, the USAO continued coordination of its PSN and Anti-Gang strategies through its well-represented PSN Steering Committee. The USAO has designated two coordinators, one for PSN and one for the Anti-Gang Initiative, who were both available to officers and agents during the case intake process and continued to be available during the investigation stage of any potential prosecution. They also provided leadership for the Steering Committee. There are currently three AUSAs prosecuting firearms violations and two handling gang prosecutions. Due to the increasing gang criminal activity impacting the Houston Metropolitan community, the USAO created an Anti-Gang Task Force to coordinate law enforcement and efficiently and effectively utilize the limited law enforcement resources to address the significant problem.
During the past two years, the USAO again received PSN funding to support programs to reduce gun and gang activity throughout the district. The SDTX PSN Steering Committee continued its earlier decision to use its federal money to fund local programs designed to reduce firearms violence by removing serious offenders and/or gang members from the streets through lengthy federal prison terms and by conveying a deterrent message throughout the communities in the district. The federal funding allocated to the SDTX was continued at a reduced amount for both 2009 and 2010; this in spite of the fact that all areas throughout the SDTX reported increased gun and gang criminal activity. The SDTX PSN Selection Committee received nearly $2 million in requests for the funding years of 2009 and 2010. It was only able to fund seven agencies for the allotted $255,666 in 2009 and 11 agencies for the 2010 allotment of $275,233. The PSN Steering Committee met bi-annually and the PSN grantees met quarterly. In early 2009, SDTX PSN partners co-hosted an Anti-Gang Training in Houston, which delivered training to more than 400 law enforcement and prevention personnel in four separate tracks of instruction over three days. In order to better coordinate gang investigative efforts in the large Houston metropolitan area, the USAO convened an Anti-gang Task Force in early 2010.