Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $85,148)
Project Safe Neighborhoods
District of South Dakota
The District of South Dakota’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) strategy couples targeted, data-driven enforcement efforts with community outreach and prevention programs to bring about a sustained and lasting impact on violent crime. The primary focus of the PSN initiative in South Dakota is to reduce gun, gang, and drug crimes through proactive investigations and community outreach efforts. The U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the District of South Dakota has targeted Rapid City as a location of immediate concern in its PSN efforts. Although the PSN initiative is an ongoing effort, the project period for the 2021 PSN grant funding is anticipated to extend through December 2022.
Through an established PSN task force, the USAO collaborates with key partners, including the Pennington County States Attorney’s Office, Rapid City Police Department (RCPD), Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigations, South Dakota Highway Patrol and federal law enforcement agencies to share intelligence and identify and target offenders within the targeted area that are driving violent crime and distribution of illegal drugs. To identify the locations most in need of assistance, the RCPD Crime Analyst tracks monthly statistics relating to calls for service and prepares “hot spot” mapping within Rapid City to identify the locations where violent crimes are the most prevalent. Using the statistics and crime mapping, local and federal law enforcement agencies then identify and arrest the most significant violent offenders within the target area, increase enforcement efforts against illegal firearms and drugs, and conduct warrant sweeps.
In comparison to more urban districts, South Dakota does not suffer from significant levels of gun violence. However, the continued growth of methamphetamine and other drug trafficking has become a prevalent issue and both the threat and actual instances of gun violence are on the rise. In Rapid City, it has become commonplace to find methamphetamine distributors and users in possession of firearms. Over the past several years, there has been a significant increase in violent crimes, including robberies and assaults, committed by individuals under the influence of methamphetamine in particular. Statistics show methamphetamine use and trafficking are also associated with a substantial percentage of burglaries and other property crimes committed in the target area. Through the PSN initiative, law enforcement, working hand-in-hand with community members, can bring about a lasting impact on violent crime and make our communities a safer place.