Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $119,407)
The Western District of Virginia (“WDVA” or “District”) comprises approximately sixty percent of the land area in the Commonwealth of Virginia and 2.2 million of its citizens. The district covers a large geographic area. While the northern corner is less than fifty miles from Washington, D.C., Lee County, the western tip of the district, is farther west than Detroit and is closer to six other state capitols than it is to Richmond. The WDVA encompasses seven separate federal divisions, including Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Roanoke, Danville, Abingdon, and Big Stone Gap.
In recent years, violent crime has generally continued to rise in the target areas. In Roanoke, there was an increase of 16.5% in violent crime in 2021. While the number of murders, robberies, aggravated assaults, and weapon violations held relatively steady between 2020 and 2021, the number of 2022 shooting incidents in Roanoke, a city with just 100,000 citizens, is troubling.
The primary goal of the PSN Project for the WDVA is to reduce gun and gang violence through deterrence efforts aimed at potential offenders, the implementation of evidence-based programs and proven enforcement strategies to prevent and reduce gun and gang crimes, and the prosecution of significant firearm, controlled substance, and violent crime offenses. The PSN program will harness the resources of federal, state, and local law enforcement officials throughout WDVA. The PSN program will require intelligence-led approaches to identify the most violent offenders and neighborhoods in each division, and then deploy combined resources to prevent, interdict, and suppress violent criminal acts by targeted offenders in those areas.