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Press Release

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Announces Reinvigoration of Project Safe Neighborhoods and other Actions to Reduce Rising Tide of Violent Crime

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Tennessee

Memphis, TN - Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced several Department of Justice (DOJ) actions to reduce the rising tide of violent crime in America. To help combat the rise in violent crime, the DOJ is reinvigorating Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program first started in 2001 that successfully reduced violent crime.

In announcing this recommitment, the Attorney General directed that United States Attorneys implement an enhanced violent crime reduction program that incorporates the lessons learned since Project Safe Neighborhoods launched. The violent crime reduction program includes an emphasis on enhancing partnerships with federal, state and local law enforcement to reduce gun violence.

The PSN program uses the full range of data and technologies to identify the most violent locations in the district and the individuals who drive the violence in our cities. PSN partners then use all potential investigative tools and resources to develop and bring cases against those who commit violent crimes. Ultimately, the coordinate effort ensures that the most violent offenders in our district are prosecuted in the legal venue that provides the most certain and appropriate penalty.

The Attorney General said: "Taking what we have learned since the program began, we have updated it and enhanced it, emphasizing the role of our U.S. Attorneys, the promise of new technologies, and above all, partnerships with local communities. With these changes, I believe this program will be more effective than ever and help us fulfill our mission to make America safer."

U.S. Attorney Mike Dunavant said "This office remains committed to implementing policies to enhance Project Safe Neighborhoods framework. Since PSN’s inception, the program has been instrumental in reducing violent crime throughout the Western District of Tennessee. We look forward to continuing this important work with local, state and federal law enforcement partners to proactively target criminal organizations and aggressively remove violent offenders from the streets."

The Attorney General also announced the following Department of Justice initiatives to help reduce violent crime:

Additional Assistant United States Attorney Positions to Focus on Violent Crime – the Department is allocating 40 prosecutors to approximately 20 United States Attorney’s Offices to focus on violent crime reduction.

More Cops on the Streets (COPS Hiring Grants) – As part of our continuing commitment to crime prevention efforts, increased community policing, and the preservation of vital law enforcement jobs, the Department will be awarding approximately $98 million in FY 2017 COPS Hiring Grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies.

Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force’s (OCDETF) National Gang Strategic Initiative – The National Gang Strategic Initiative promotes creative enforcement strategies and best practices that will assist in developing investigations of violent criminal groups and gangs into enterprise-level OCDETF prosecutions. Under this initiative, OCDETF provides "seed money" to locally-focused gang investigations, giving state, local, and tribal investigators and prosecutors the resources and tools needed to identify connections between lower-level gangs and national-level drug trafficking organizations.

Critical Training and Technical Assistance to State and Local Partners – The Department has a vast array of training and technical assistance resources available to state, local and tribal law enforcement, victim’s groups, and others. To ensure that agencies in need of assistance are able to find the training and materials they need, OJP will make available a Violence Reduction Response Center to serve as a "hot line" to connect people to these resources.

Crime Gun Intelligence Centers (CGIC) – The Department has provided grant funding to support a comprehensive approach to identifying the most violent offenders in a jurisdiction, using new technologies such as gunshot detection systems combined with gun crime intelligence from NIBIN, eTrace, and investigative efforts. These FY 2017 grants were awarded to Phoenix, Arizona and Kansas City, Missouri.

Expand ATF’s NIBIN Urgent Trace Program– The Department will expand ATF’s NIBIN Urgent Trace Program nationwide by the end of the year. Through this program, any firearm submitted for tracing that is associated with a NIBIN "hit" (which means it can be linked to a shooting incident) will be designated an "urgent" trace and the requestor will get information back about the firearm’s first retail purchaser within 24 hours, instead of 5 to 6 business days.

Updated October 5, 2017