Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $63,639)
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a nationwide commitment to reducing gun crime, links existing local programs together and provides them with necessary tools. PSN 1) takes a hard line against gun criminals, using every available means to create safer neighborhoods; 2) seeks to achieve heightened coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement; and 3) emphasizes tactical intelligence gathering, more aggressive prosecutions, and enhanced accountability through performance measures. The United States Attorney in each federal judicial district will lead the offensive. The fiscal agent, in coordination with the PSN Task Force, will allocate funds throughout the community.
Hoyleton Youth and Family Services, serving as the fiscal agent for the Southern District of Illinois, will use the grant to target gang activities in several metro-east communities in St. Clair and Madison Counties with an emphasis on Federally-funded housing projects. These communities, representing some of the most economically challenged in Illinois, are experiencing significant increases in gang-related activity and violence, and local law enforcement agencies do not have the resources to stop this trend. The goals of the anti-gang initiative are to: provide a sustained impact on the trafficking of controlled substances and cannabis in East Saint Louis and the other targeted communities; reduce gun violence in targeted areas by strict enforcement of state and federal gun laws; reduce the number of gang-related homicides and other crimes; and empower the community to act through education efforts. Funds will be used for officer overtime that will allow the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois (MEGSI) to provide targeted, focused, and pro-active enforcement of designated locations. Officers from the MEGSI and the Madison County Sheriff's Department will organize meetings periodically throughout the targeted communities to allow citizens a chance to provide intelligence to the task force officers. Officers will use these meetings to inform the community about the enforcement details being conducted and their results. A phone line will also be provided for citizens to make anonymous complaints on a 24-hour basis.