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United States Attorney recounts efforts to combat crime on Project Safe Neighborhoods Anniversary

United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that after a year of increased firearm and violent crime prosecutions, there has been a substantial reduction in violent crime throughout the Western District of Louisiana.

One year ago the Department of Justice announced the revitalization and enhancement of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which Attorney General Sessions has made the centerpiece of the Department’s violent crime reduction strategy. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Throughout the past year, the Western District of Louisiana has partnered with all levels of law enforcement, local organizations, and members of the community to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. During this time, the Western District of Louisiana has quadrupled the number of violent crime and firearm prosecutions.  And these prosecutions have shown results.

“Project Safe Neighborhoods is a proven program with demonstrated results,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “We know that the most effective strategy to reduce violent crime is based on sound policing policies that have proven effective over many years, which includes being targeted and responsive to community needs.  I have empowered our United States Attorneys to focus enforcement efforts against the most violent criminals in their districts, and directed that they work together with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners to develop tailored solutions to the unique violent crime problems they face.  Each United States Attorney has prioritized the PSN program, and I am confident that it will continue to reduce crime, save lives, and restore safety to our communities.”  

“We have made reducing violent crime in our district a top priority,” Joseph stated. “Project Safe Neighborhoods is a program that helps our office work with local law enforcement to target the worst offenders. As a result of this, we’ve seen violent crime rates drop in many areas of our state. This program works, and we hope to continue this program to further reduce crime and protect the citizens of our communities. I want to thank each and every law enforcement officer, whether federal, state or local, as well as the prosecutors and Justice Department staff who have worked so hard during this last year to take violent offenders out of our neighborhoods.”

As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the revitalized PSN program, here are some of the highlights of our PSN actions over the past year:

Enforcement Actions

In the past year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana has prosecuted more than 200 defendants throughout the district for firearm related offenses, including felons and drug dealers in possession of firearms.

  • The U.S. Attorney’s Office started its prosecutions a year ago with the announcement on October 5, 2017 of indictments of 16 defendants in separate cases across north Louisiana. For more information, see the news release here.
  • Throughout the past year, the office has prosecuted firearms related cases under Project Safe Neighborhoods averaging at least one PSN prosecution a week. An example of such prosecutions can be viewed here.
  • The U.S. Attorney announced increased prosecutions in Northwest Louisiana. Read more here.
  • United States Attorney Joseph announced increased prosecutions in the Acadiana area. More can be learned here.

Community Partnerships

Since the reinvigoration of Project Safe Neighborhoods, these partnerships have been expanded to include the Louisiana State Attorney General’s Office in addition to other agencies.

  • For the first time in its history, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Louisiana Attorney General announced a joint effort to increase violent crime prosecutions. See more here.
  • The office announced grants available to local law enforcement. See more information here.
  • As part of its community outreach efforts, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has participated in a number of events and programs to educate and strengthen communities throughout the Western District of Louisiana such as National Night Out and drug prevention education events. See more here.

Improvements to Community Safety

  • The FBI’s official crime data for 2017 reflects that, after two consecutive, historic increases in violent crime, in the first year of the Trump Administration, the nationwide violent crime rate began to decline.  The nationwide violent crime rate decreased by approximately one percent in 2017, while the nationwide homicide rate decreased by nearly one and a half percent.
  • The preliminary information we have for 2018 gives us reason for optimism that our efforts are continuing to pay off. Public data from 60 major cities show that violent crime was down by nearly five percent in those cities in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same period a year ago.
  • With the increase of 200 defendant prosecutions throughout the district, it has resulted in a noticeable reduction in crime across the district. In Shreveport, violent crime has dropped by 13 percent and indications are that similar results are materializing in other communities throughout the district.

These enforcement actions and partnerships are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime. Learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods.