Project Safe Neighborhoods
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.
The PSN program pursues the following objectives:
- Build trust and earn legitimacy. Meaningful law enforcement engagement with, and accountability to, the community are essential underpinnings of any effective strategy to address violent crime, as well as important ends in themselves. Accordingly, building trust and earning legitimacy within our communities is the foundation on which the PSN strategy is built.
- Focus enforcement efforts and priorities. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington collaborates with local and federal law enforcement partners to identify violent crime trends and proactively address high-risk violent individuals and identified hot spots in the District. Federal prosecutorial resources are focused on high-risk individuals who commit crimes with guns, as well those who illegally provide guns that are used to commit crimes.
- Support prevention, intervention, and reentry programs. Violent crime is not a problem that can be solved by law enforcement alone. The Western District of Washington partners with community-based violence prevention and intervention programs that work to keep violence from happening before it occurs, as well as programs that support formerly incarcerated individuals with their reentry.
Enforcement Strategy: The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Washington has long partnered with federal and state law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to collaboratively address violent crime in the region. These efforts include conducting long-term investigations into violent groups and gang-involved narcotics trafficking, as well as regular meetings with local and federal agencies to exchange information about specific investigations, notable violent crime events, high-risk violent individuals, and local crime trends.
We work closely with ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC) to connect crime scenes through the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN), thereby increasing the timely development of evidence to solve violent gun crime, and helping investigators and prosecutors identify and prioritize individuals who are committing violent gun crime. In our District, ATF and local agencies routinely use eTrace and other aspects of crime gun intelligence to identify straw purchasers who provide firearms to prohibited persons. We prioritize investigation and prosecution of people who illegally provide guns to people who commit crimes with guns.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington leads long-term investigations into domestic drug cartels and other violent crime organizations. In 2018 and 2019, in collaboration with its federal and local partners, we coordinated Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigations of four major drug trafficking rings operating in PSN target areas. More than 80 defendants were indicted, and about 75 guns, more than 95 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 32 pounds of heroin, and more than 7 pounds of cocaine (both crack and powder), along with more than $500,000 in cash, were recovered from these organized criminal groups. In 2020 and 2021, similar investigations of six major drug trafficking rings resulted in the arrest and indictment of over 120 defendants, as well as the seizure of about 123 guns, more than 100,000 fentanyl pills, more than 200 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 70 pounds of heroin, and more than $3,000,000.00 in cash proceeds of drug trafficking.
Prevention / Community Outreach / Re-Entry Strategy: In conjunction with the defense bar, the Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Probation, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington participates in a quarterly question-and-answer session for federal inmates who are releasing into the community. During the session, inmates receive a re-entry handbook that provides information about local service providers and addresses common questions. We frequently work with local jurisdictions and community partners to remove individual barriers to reentry.
In the Western District of Washington, PSN grant funds build partnerships between the community and law enforcement and implement community-oriented solutions to gun violence. In 2019, a PSN grant was awarded to a community-based intervention program for individuals who are at high risk of becoming involved in gun violence as victims or perpetrators. In 2020, U.S. Attorney’s Office and local PSN partners worked with the National Center for Victims of Crime to evaluate services for gun violence victims in south King County and propose recommendations for improving victim services. PSN grant funds will be used to implement the recommendations from that assessment. In 2021, the PSN committee applied for grant funds to build the capacity of community organizations who are working with at-risk teens and youth to provide mentorship and build protective factors that help youth and teens avoid engaging in gun violence.
For further information on this District's PSN effort please contact:
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Manca