Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $187,929)
The Eastern District of Texas’ FY2021 PSN program proposes to build on the success of our FY2020 PSN program to further reduce violent crime and gang activity in the cities of Beaumont and Port Arthur, and expand our efforts to other parts of the district to include the cities of Longview and Texarkana. The Beaumont-Port Arthur metropolitan area is a four-county region in Southeast Texas, bisected by Interstate 10, and home to large federal and state prison facilities. The murder rate in Beaumont and Port Arthur is approximately three-times the national average. The Northern portion of the Eastern District continues to see massive population growth. Frisco and McKinney, cities located in Collin County, are the fastest and fourth fastest growing cities in the United States, respectively, according to early 2020 Census data. With population expansion, an uptick in crime, including violent crime, is sure to come.
In response, the United States Attorney’s Office is leading PSN committees in Beaumont and the Northern portion of the District to implement an enhanced PSN plan to ensure coordination among federal, state, and local agencies that can help reduce violent crime. To maximize efficiency, the program proposes to continue utilizing a dedicated research partner (Dr. Michael Bachmann) to better direct our resources; and leveraging all federal resources, including existing task forces and initiatives. The PSN partnership, which includes local and federal law enforcement agencies, is united in their commitment to a broad-based, multidisciplinary approach. This includes research-driven, intelligence-led, problem-solving policing and effective state and federal prosecution, together with prevention and reentry strategies by community partners with proven track records of effective counseling, mentoring and other supportive services within the PSN context. The partnering agencies and entities are formalizing well-established informal working relationships that will become operational immediately upon funding of this project. Further, the partnerships extend beyond these agencies and entities to include long-standing formal and informal working relationships with probation departments, workforce-training providers, and other community resources.
The project will use outreach to develop effective relationships with community members, understand the community’s needs and priorities, and effectively communicate how enforcement efforts are reducing crime and increasing safety—ensuring that the community knows that enforcement efforts are focused on the most violent criminals. Using traditional press releases and other media, the project will convey a strong deterrent message. The project’s prevention efforts will focus on gangs and high-rate offenders, released prisoners, and at-risk youth.