Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $894,151)
United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Fiscal Year 2022 Strategic Plan Summary
Description of the Issue
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California (CDCA) encompasses
seven counties: Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Orange, Riverside, and
San Bernardino Counties. CDCA serves over 19 million residents with a population that is the
largest of any district in the country.
At the district level, PSN is led by Acting United States Attorney Stephanie S. Christensen, along
with Joanna Curtis, Chief of the Violent and Organized Crime Section, and Assistant United
States Attorneys Jennifer Chou, Joshua Mausner, and John Balla who serve as the PSN
Coordinators. PSN is also supported by the District’s Law Enforcement Coordinator, David
Cons. The PSN Selection Committee is composed of Martin Vranicar (Former CEO, California District
Attorneys’ Association); Robyn Bacon (Former Assistant United States Attorney; Partner,
Munger Tolles & Olson); and Chief John Curley (Ret.) (former Chief of Police for the City of
The PSN Task Force consists of the USAO, ATF, and all agencies and providers currently
receiving PSN funding.The priority areas for the CDCA PSN strategic plan are community engagement, prevention, and intervention, focused and strategic enforcement, and accountability. The CDCA PSN strategic plan hopes to establish and implement effective programs and strategies that substantially
prevent, respond to, and reduce violent crime by fostering safer neighborhoods. Members of the
PSN Task Force will use data to identify high crime areas with violent offenders while
collaborating with community-based organizations, researchers, advocates, community leaders
and law enforcement to increase public safety and reduce violent crime.
PSN Strategy Goals and Objectives
The goals of the CDCA’s PSN FY 22 strategy are to:
• Mitigate gang, gun, and violent crimes throughout the district/taskforce area.
• Increase federal prosecution of the most violent and repeat offenders.
• Through focused and strategic enforcement, increase seizure of firearms and prosecution
of illegal possessors and traffickers of firearms and ammunition, including adopting state
cases for federal prosecution.
• Provide in person/virtual trainings with local partners to help increase enforcement and
awareness of issues related to ghost guns and Glock switches to make them less
accessible to the public.
• Increase collaboration among stakeholders through regular meetings and joint activities,
including coordination with other USAO districts as part of the Department’s new
Firearms Trafficking Strike Force, and collaboration with neighboring districts to identify
multi-district trafficking routes.
• Continue to expand on existing collaborative efforts between local law enforcement and
ATF regarding resources like the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network
(“NIBIN”) and other ballistic information through the District’s Crime Gun Intelligence
• Build upon existing PSN funded programming efforts and look to expand PSN program
resources throughout the district as identified by data-driven crime statistics, and input
from community and law enforcement stakeholders.
• Increase capacity building efforts about public safety grants by providing informational
workshops throughout the district to increase awareness and the ability for NGOs/FBOs,
and local law enforcement agencies alike to apply for PSN/federal public safety grants.
PSN Taskforce Area.
Given the geographic size of the CDCA, and using a data-informed, focused, and strategic PSN
model, the CDCA decided to focus resources on three geographical areas within the district for
PSN FY2021. The geographic areas of focus, or Task Force Areas, include the City of San
Bernardino and the communities that make up the Los Angeles Police Department’s Southeast
and 77th Patrol Divisions. These three PSN Task Force Areas have statistically high levels of
violent crime compared to other areas within the district – particularly gang violence.
In FY2022, the CDCA intends to continue to focus and build upon its existing PSN program
efforts to reduce violent crime in these three geographic areas. Allocating a portion of FY22
PSN funding for “micro-grants” will support small scale / large impact crime-reduction efforts
elsewhere in the district. A dedicated research partner will help identify program successes and
remedies to address programmatic challenges, as well as work with the fiscal agent to develop a
comprehensive and targeted approach for program implementation in areas of the district that
can implement smaller scale projects that embrace the hallmarks of PSN programming:
community engagement, prevention, and intervention, focused and strategic enforcement, and
Focusing FY2022 PSN resources on these Task Force Areas will build upon and enhance
ongoing PSN-funded efforts to reduce the high rate of crime in these communities. The PSN
Task Force Areas will centralize its focus to mitigate gang, gun, and violent crimes within the
target areas; increase federal prosecution of the most violent and repeat offenders; enhance
collaboration between CDCA, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, nongovernmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and community partners; promote and support
meaningful gang prevention, gang intervention, re-entry and other violence prevention strategies;
while engaging a research partner to provide quantitative analysis on the PSN strategies
employed and their effectiveness in reducing violent crime and firearms offenses within the task
force/micro-grant funded areas.
Data Driven Strategies for Violence Prevention
According to the Public Policy Institute of California (2022), Preliminary data from four of
California’s major cities—Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco—show
increases in property and violent crime numbers in 2021. In particular, the troubling increase in
homicides that were seen in 2020 appears to continue—homicides in these cities were up by
about 17% in 2021. While robbery and rape decreased, homicides increased by 30% and
aggravated assaults went up by 7.5%. In 2020, 65% of reported violent crimes in California were
aggravated assaults, 26% were robberies, 8% were rapes, and 1% were homicides.
In 2020 the City of San Bernardino reported 69 homicides (46% increase from 2019) and 2,101
aggravated assaults (18.97% increase from 2019). Sixty-five reported aggravated assaults
involved the use of a firearm, a 42.04% increase to 2019)
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, in 2021, the LAPD 77th Patrol Division
reported 62 homicides, a 67.6% increase from 2019, and 284 victims shot, a 55.2% increase from
2019. Similarly, the LAPD Southeast Patrol Division reported 54 homicides, a 63.6% increase
from 2019, and 252 victims shot, a 110% increase from 2019.
Based on this data, the PSN FY 22 strategy will continue to focus crime-reduction efforts in
these three geographic areas.
Project Design and Implementation
The PSN Task Force will work with the fiscal agent, the San Diego Association of Governments
(SANDAG) so that the fiscal agent can develop a Notice of Funding Availability (NFA) for
applicants for subawards that will enhance progress towards the prevention, outreach,
engagement, and re-entry programs by providing services for at-risk communities to address
drivers of gun and gang violence, repeat and habitual offenders, and programs that will reduce
gang violence and the availability of weapons, particularly ghost guns and illegal Glock autoswitches and silencers.
The Acting United States Attorney for the Central District of California understands that the
USAO has a leadership role in the overall goals of the PSN Task Force. As such, part of the
project design includes working with state, local, and tribal law enforcement to reduce violent
crime, including but not limited to, felony firearm crimes and gang violence in the district. In
partnership with local community-based organizations the PSN Task Force develop strategies
based on evidence-based practices and proven programs in the community to reduce violent
crime and create sustained safer communities. With the use of localized and real-time data, the
PSN Task Force will develop targeted and prioritized enforcement efforts to combat violent
crimes in the neighborhoods with the highest rates of crime. The PSN Task Force will also
coordinate with community-based organizations to implement prevention and intervention
strategies in these same and surrounding neighborhoods to deter future crime. By partnering
with local researchers to collect data on the effects of our efforts to reduce violent crime, the
PSN Task Force will be able to maintain accountability for our efforts.
The USAO will hold regular meetings with the entire PSN Task Force to discuss district-wide
issues, share updates, and provide trainings and feedback from the research partner and other
resources. The USAO will also hold regular meetings with individual PSN grant recipients with
the fiscal agent and research partner to discuss individualized goals, progress, and challenges.
CDCA will compile requirements and criteria for eligible applicants that address the four PSN
design features and the developed PSN strategy so that the fiscal agent can post this information
to its website and circulate widely via e-mail. Applicants will submit their application on-line in
response to the project description for the PSN proposed strategy. Applications will then be
reviewed by the PSN Executive Committee for cost effectiveness and expert capabilities in
implementing desired PSN plan of action. The evaluation and selection of sub-awards will be
based in part on the following criteria:
1. Statement of the Problem and Understanding of the PSN Program Strategy
2. Program Design and Implementation
4. Plan for Collecting Required Data
5. Budget and Detailed Budget Narrative
As part of the evaluation process for funding the PSN Task Force will assure compliance with
the four PSN design features (community engagement, prevention, and intervention, focused and
strategic enforcement, and accountability. The PSN Task Force will adhere to all federal
requirements when evaluating and selecting proposals for funding. The PSN Task Force will
work with the fiscal agent to monitor quarterly outcome reports to assure goals are being met.
CDCA intends to use a collaborative approach to combat violent crimes and firearms offenses to
foster safer neighborhoods. The PSN Task Force will work with federal and local law
enforcement partners, as well as community non-governmental and non-profit organizations to
implement programs and strategies to combat violent crime and utilize research to measure
effectiveness. CDCA’s PSN Task Force targeted prevention, outreach, engagement, and re-entry
strategy will include programs that provide services for at-risk communities to address drivers of
gun and gang violence, repeat and habitual offenders. It is anticipated that the CDCA will fund
PSN program efforts based on the following categories:
• Law enforcement efforts (Includes gang task force set-aside)*
• Intervention/rehabilitation efforts
• Prevention/outreach efforts
• Research partner
* 30 percent of PSN allocated funding will be used to support the Gang Task Force SetAside. The Gang Task Force Set Aside refers to funding allocated to law enforcement agencies
operating inside the PSN Task Force Area with an emphasis on: strategic enforcement (violent
crime impact teams) to combat gang and gun crime, high visibility patrol in and around crime
“Hot Spots,” and collaboration with ATF and interaction with the Crime Gun Intelligence
Community Intervention – Prevention Efforts
In addition to enforcement efforts, CDCA has participated in a robust outreach and engagement
program to cultivate community and law enforcement relationships as well as deter future
criminality. In 2021, CDCA introduced a Summer Violence Reduction Strategy (SVRS) into the
PSN strategy designed to provide violence prevention resources during the summer months when
crime traditionally tends to spike. For example, PSN Stakeholders identified various
intervention, prevention, or law enforcement programming during evenings or weekends to best
engage potential victims and or perpetrators of violence. Activities included but were not limited
to workforce development initiatives, athletic events, arts programming, or job training sessions.
The law enforcement component of the SVRS identified crime “Hot Spots” and increased
strategic enforcement in a specific geographic area, created and/or supported community/police
communication forums, crime prevention workshops, or youth and family outreach activities.
CDCA CASA – STAR
CDCA works in partnership with the District Court and other agencies in the CASA and STAR
programs—diversion and re-entry programs—aimed at reducing recidivism through meetings
with judges and prosecutors, self-help and life skills training, and alternative sentences. In
previous PSN funding cycles, CDCA has funded programming to support underserved youth via
gang intervention and workforce development initiatives to support and ensure they have access
to comprehensive career pathway opportunities, educational and/or vocational supportive
services and mental health and substance abuse counseling.
Summer Night Lights
CDCA also supports one of the Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) hallmark
violence prevention programs, “Summer Night Lights” (SNL). SNL operates during the summer
months throughout the city of Los Angeles, keeping parks open after dark to provide community
members alternatives to gang activity and gang violence.
CDCA Federal Law Enforcement Coordination Committee (FLECC)
CDCA’s Federal Law Enforcement Coordination Committee (FLECC) is made up of
representatives from various federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies (Including PSN
law enforcement stakeholders). Under the leadership and guidance of CDCA, the goal of the
FLECC working group is to increase collaboration amongst agencies to support community
outreach, education and training initiatives, including local law enforcement outreach, and
training efforts. Moreover, to collectively work to improve relationships with the community,
increasing community engagement, understanding and cooperation. In the fall of 2021, the
FLECC working group introduced, “The Many Faces of Law Enforcement” a community
outreach initiative aimed at highlighting the diversity of career opportunities in law enforcement,
and importantly, the diversity of the workforce that makes up the various careers. The event
introduced potential career pathways for local college students’ interest in a career in law
enforcement as well as linkages to supportive resources and opportunities for internships,
externship, and career mentoring.
These programs are integral aspects of the District’s PSN crime-prevention efforts. CDCA will
seek to continue building and expanding these successful programs by continuing to foster
relationships with local law enforcement and community organizations, including through PSN
grants to eligible organizations.
Accountability – Plan for Data Collection
CDCA PSN Leadership – Funded PSN Program Partners (Law Enforcement, Research Partner,
FY 22 law enforcement grant recipients will be expected to provide monthly crime data from
their jurisdiction to the research partner and the USAO. The purpose of the monthly reporting is
to measure program effectiveness, targeted outreach, and enforcement efforts. The collection of
real time data and analysis will enable a more proactive approach to PSN program efforts and
will better evaluate program projects and their effectiveness, as well as identify new strategies
needed to enhance the original plan. This will be in addition to the required quarterly reports to
be collected by the Fiscal Agent and submitted to the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Regular
meetings with the agencies, research partner, and USAO will allow the research partner to share
its analysis of the crime data and provide feedback on how the analysis can affect the way the
agency is implementing its PSN programming.
Identifying Violent Crime Issues – A Data Driven, Evidence Based, Community Minded
The CDCA aspires to implement recommended best practices for violent crime problem
identification as outlined in the 2021 Major City Chiefs Association Violent Crime Reduction
Operations Guide into the CDCA PSN strategy. Specifically, by working with PSN Stakeholders
in the Task Force areas and implementing the Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment
(SARA) model. According to the Arizona State University Center for Problem-Oriented
Policing the implementation of the SARA model will; assist in the identification of recurring
problems of concern for the community and law enforcement, prioritizing the identified
problems, identify and understand the events and conditions that precede and accompany the
problem, data to be collected, developing a coordinated response plan with specific action items
for the various PSN stakeholders (e.g., law enforcement, research partner, community, etc.) and
evaluating the outcome of the action plan, and whether specific goals were attained and conduct
continuing assessment of program goals and objectives to measure its success and effectiveness.
Law Enforcement – Violent Crime Case Review – PSN Best Practice
Members of the USAO and ATF will hold regular violent crime case review meetings with PSN
funded law enforcement agencies to identify cases for federal filing involving violent gangs,
felons in possession, and other firearm offenses, known shooters as well as chronic violent
offenders, and receive real time crime data. The violent crime case review was an effort that was
identified in the PSN TTA Blueprint for Success that was implemented by USAO leadership in
Montana along with Billings and Missoula Police Departments in partnership with Michigan
To date, CDCA USAO’s have successfully engaged in significant enforcement, intervention, and
prevention efforts. CDCA’s PSN program has focused on bringing large-scale racketeering
cases and sweeping takedowns of violent gangs; Hobbs Act robbery cases targeting violent
actors; and individual firearms prosecutions, including working with local law enforcement to
identify and target the most dangerous and violent offenders for federal prosecution. CDCA has
worked with ATF and LAPD as part of a Crime Gun Intelligence Center, which uses forensic
tools to match recovered firearms to other crimes, with the goal of removing “trigger pullers”
from the street. The USAO PSN Coordinator leads the Los Angeles Firearms Trafficking Strike
Force and holds regular meetings with federal and local law enforcement agencies to share
information and resources on firearms trafficking investigations. The Firearms Trafficking
Strike Force also works the Districts of Nevada and Arizona for increased collaboration in
investigating firearms that are trafficked from those source districts to Los Angeles.
Moving forward, CDCA plans to continue to build on these established and successful
enforcement practices to combat violent crime.
Fiscal Agent: Program Performance – Data Reporting Requirements
CDCA’s PSN Task Force understands the performance data reporting requirements for this grant
program. CDCA also understands that if awarded the grant a quarterly performance metrics
report must be submitted through BJA’s online Performance Measure Tool (PMT), and two
semi-annual reports must be uploaded into the Grant Management System (GMS). CDCA’s
PSN Task Force also understands that financial status reports are also due on a quarterly basis.
To complete these quarterly reports, the fiscal agent will collect and maintain the following
performance metrics on grant activity, site/project information, planning and understanding the
problem, data tracking and data analysis, training and technical assistance, task force
partnerships, responses to the problem, prevention and community empowerment, and goals and
objectives. All information and tracking will be centralized to the applicant with sub-awardees
reporting performance metrics directly to the applicant. Applicant will utilize
spreadsheets/project management software to keep and track all performance metrics and data to
generate the quarterly performance metrics report.