Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $248,340)
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia (“EDVA”), with Divisions in Alexandria, Richmond, Norfolk, and Newport News, serves more than 6 million residents living in Northern Virginia, Tidewater, Central Virginia, and surrounding communities. According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, EDVA has the busiest criminal docket outside of the districts lining the Southwest U.S. border and the Southern District of Florida and ranks third in the nation in the total number of trials per year.
In 2022, 17,663 violent crimes, involving 20,556 victims and including 663 murders, were reported across Virginia. (Note: Unless otherwise indicated, all crime data and figures come from the Virginia State Police’s Uniform Crime Report for 2022.) Firearms represented 44.5 % of all known weapons used in aggravated assaults in Virginia. In addition, 14,158 major crimes were reported for 2022 in Norfolk, Newport News, Alexandria, and Richmond. (Note: because EDVA covers many more jurisdictions beyond these four cities, this figure is a representative sample, not an inclusive number.) Of those major crimes, 3,663 were violent, consisting of one or more of the following offenses: murder, robbery, rape and other forcible sex offenses, and aggravated assaults. There were also 42,833 property crimes for these same locations categorized as one or more of the following: burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
The primary PSN program goal (using FY2019 funds) is to reduce gun and gang violence in EDVA through deterrence efforts aimed at potential offenders, the implementation of evidenced-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 EDVA. The PSN team will incorporate the five design features of PSN to reduce gun and gang violence throughout EDVA and the four PSN target enforcement areas. 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. A significant part of the strategy will focus on investigating and prosecuting gang members, including members of transnational gangs, such as MS-13, as well as local neighborhood gangs. EDVA intends to continue with this approach beyond 2023. Funding for this mission would enhance the ability of EDVA’s federal, state, and local partners to implement anti-gang strategies through additional resources and equipment to investigate gang activity, over-time expenditures for already heavily worked task forces, and other useful expenditures.
SMART objectives include: a 10% decrease in homicides with a firearm in the enforcement areas by September 2024; a 5% reduction in the combined number of homicides, aggravated assaults, and robberies with a firearm after two years of implementation in the enforcement areas; and a 5% decrease in combined homicides, aggravated assaults and robberies that are gang-related in the enforcement area after two years of implementation.