Attorney General Jeff Sessions Announces Reinvigoration of Project Safe Neighborhoods Program to Reduce Rising Tide of Violent Crime
SALT LAKE CITY – Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a reinvigoration of Project Safe Neighborhoods Thursday morning, a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. John W. Huber, U.S. Attorney in Utah, joined Attorney General Sessions at a roundtable discussion at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., Thursday morning as a part of the PSN announcement.
"According to the FBI, the violent crime rate has risen by nearly 7 percent over the past two years, and the homicide rate has risen by more than 20 percent. We cannot be complacent or hope that this is just an anomaly: we have a duty to take action,” Attorney General Sessions said in a statement today.
“Fortunately, we have a President who understands that and has directed his administration to reduce crime. The Department of Justice today announces the foundation of our plan to reduce crime: prioritizing Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program that has been proven to work.
“Let me be clear – Project Safe Neighborhoods is not just one policy idea among many. This is the centerpiece of our crime reduction strategy,” the Attorney General said.
The Attorney General has issued a memo directing United States Attorneys to implement an enhanced violent crime reduction program that incorporates the lessons learned since Project Safe Neighborhoods launched in 2001. The announcement of a reinvigoration of the PSN program is one of several actions the Department of Justice will be taking to reduce the rising tide of violent crime in the country.
News of a new nationwide commitment to Project Safe Neighborhoods is welcome news at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah. Federal prosecutors in Utah, working together with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, built a strong PSN program more than 15 years ago and the collaborative effort has continued through the years.
“Project Safe Neighborhoods has been the most effective program for taking on violent crime in Utah for more than 15 years. It is comprehensive and collaborative. The Attorney General is wise to reinvigorate this project,” Huber said. “We will use the Attorney General’s announcement as a springboard to energize and refocus our efforts to keep Utah communities safe.”
Local, state, and federal partners involved in the Utah PSN initiative have contributed to the federal indictment of 3,501 armed offenders.
“Project Safe Neighborhoods has been one of the most successful law enforcement initiatives we have seen in Utah,” Utah Department of Public Safety Commissioner Keith Squires said Thursday. “It has been an effective tool in both urban and rural communities of our state as local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors work together to target those violent criminals who disrupt the safety of our communities.”
“During my long career in law enforcement, the Utah PSN program and the partnerships it has created made a significant difference in reducing violent crime and saving lives,” Larry Marx, former commander of the Utah PSN Task Force and a long-time police officer in Utah, said Thursday. “PSN provides law enforcement officers with a tool to reduce gun violence by criminals, gang members, and those who commit acts of domestic violence. Using existing federal gun laws, those who use firearms to commit crimes are convicted and sent to jail.”
Recent PSN case examples include:
Jonah Robinson, who was indicted in March 2017 and pleaded guilty to felon in possession of a firearm and possession of child pornography, has agreed to an 80-month prison sentence for sending a Snapchat of himself pointing a gun at four police officer and stating that for “15 snapshots I’ll shoot every last one.” Robinson is associated with the Kearns Town Bloods gang. Sentencing in the case is Nov. 13, 2017, at 2 p.m. before U.S. District Judge David Nuffer.
Jarvis Cuch, who has a previous PSN conviction, was indicted in March 2017 after escaping from a halfway house. The indictment allege he fired shots at BIA officers during an attempted traffic stop. He is charged with felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, assault on a federal officer, and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.