Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $151,223)
Drug trafficking is the major driver of violence in Puerto Rico. According to the Puerto Rico Police Bureau (PRPB), drug distribution accounts for approximately 70% of all criminal activity, either directly or indirectly. Gang turf wars over the control of lucrative drug points in PHPs and neighborhoods, to include street gangs involved in drive-by shootings and massacre-style executions of rivals, present the most significant driver of violent crime in Puerto Rico. This violence is often committed by persons with lengthy records consisting of arrests/convictions for drug trafficking, firearms violations, carjackings, assault, and murder -- many of whom are on federal supervised release, fugitives from state or federal cases, and current targets of USAO Strike Force gang investigations.
Community empowerment and organization have been an effective antidote against violence in their communities. The 2021 PSN project continues the partnership of state and federal agencies: P.R. Police Bureau (PRPB), P.R. Department of Justice, P.R. Public Housing Authority, P.R. Forensic Sciences Bureau, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO), along with community leaders, and the USAO’s Community Engagement Division
The proposed 2021 PSN project will expand on targeted interventions of the PSN 2018-2020 strategic plans by expanding the deployment of gunshot detection technology and by incorporating analysis of gunshot detection and location technology currently deployed. The incorporation of gunshot detection and location technology will help streamline police response and evidence gathering and will help in evaluating the effectiveness of our strategy. This will also facilitate the building of strong cases against drug trafficking organizations and chronic violent offenders. The 2021 PSN project will build upon current community engagement efforts by incorporating positive media messaging and on the ground efforts by our community partners and the USAO’s Public Affairs and Community Engagement Division.
The PSN 2021 objectives for the period starting October 2021 until September 2022, are:
Strengthen multi-agency task force efforts; improve the design and implementation of the proposed initiative;
Elaborate and implement a data-driven PSN strategic action plan;
Increase PSN Team members’ capacity to implement evidenced-based crime reduction strategies;
Create an evaluation and accountability system to facilitate crime data analysis to monitor changes in crime patterns throughout the project;
Reduce the prevalence of violent crime within the selected areas by targeting the specific groups driving it.