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Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN)

Overview

Important Resources:

Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is designed to create and foster safer neighborhoods through a sustained reduction in violent crime, including, but not limited to, addressing criminal gangs and the felonious possession and use of firearms. The program's effectiveness depends upon the ongoing coordination, cooperation, and partnerships of local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies--and the communities they serve--engaged in a unified approach led by the U.S. Attorney (USA) in all 94 districts.

Through the PSN team (referred to as the "PSN task force"), each district implements the following PSN design features to address violent crime in their respective districts:

  1. Leadership: USAs, working with state, local, and tribal law enforcement, are the cornerstone of the law enforcement response to crime in their jurisdictions, and are best positioned to take the leadership role in developing and implementing a crime-reduction program.

  2. Partnership: The USA must work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and prosecutors, as well as the community. Under the leadership of the USAO, the PSN task force typically includes: federal and local prosecutors; federal, local, and state law enforcement agencies; probation and parole agencies; and the certified fiscal agent. The involvement of local government leaders, social service providers, neighborhood leaders, members of the faith community, and business leaders also enhance a task force's effectiveness. PSN sites also have the option of engaging a research partner.

  3. Targeted and prioritized enforcement: PSN requires each district to develop data-driven strategies to target enforcement efforts in locations with significant violent crime problems and against offenders who are driving the violence. District-based enforcement efforts must accomplish three goals: 1) identify the locations within the district that have the most significant issues with violence; 2) identify the offenders who are driving the violence in those areas; and 3) prosecute those offenders to provide the most certain and appropriate sanctions.

  4. Prevention: The PSN task force must develop effective relationships with community leaders and residents, understand the needs and priorities of the community, and effectively communicate how law enforcement efforts are helping to reduce crime and increase public safety. Additionally, PSN encourages partnerships with local prevention and offender reentry programs that can help prevent violent crime.

  5. Accountability: PSN maintains accountability by measuring outcomes (i.e., reduction of violent crime), as well as number and quality of investigations and prosecutions. PSN task forces must collect and analyze relevant data that focus on these relevant outcomes.

PSN also encourages the development of practitioner-researcher partnerships that use data, evidence, and innovation to create strategies and interventions that are effective and make communities safer. This data-driven approach enables jurisdictions to understand the full nature and extent of the crime challenges they are facing and to direct resources to the highest priorities.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning provides the roadmap for creating clear understanding of PSN goals and the strategies to achieve the goals. Going though the planning process helps build commitment and helps partners understand why the PSN team is addressing the violence program in this fashion. Understanding "why" is crucial for effective implementation and sustainability over time. See the Project Safe Neighborhoods Strategic Action Plan Template for additional information.

PSN Tool Kit

The Department of Justice has created a Project Safe Neighborhoods Tool Kit website for U.S. Attorneys. This website contains program-specific information and resources, including implementation guidance, accountability information, research and data, promising practices, and more.

Date Created: February 20, 2012