Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) represents a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in the United States. In 2001 PSN was established to deter and punish gun crimes by linking federal, state and local law enforcement, prosecutors and community leaders together to provide local programs with the resources they need to succeed. The program aims to meet its goals by implementing programs that encompasses PSN's five core elements: partnerships, strategic planning, training, outreach, and accountability.
PSN Objectives for the District of Massachusetts
In order to meet the national goals of PSN, the United States Attorney's Office (USAO) for the District of Massachusetts has identified several cities within the state to partner with and target vital PSN resources-Boston, Brockton, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester. The USAO continues to use data from the Uniform Crime Report (UCR), local police department reports and anecdotal evidence to identify the selected PSN-targeted cities. The USAO has selected the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to serve as their State partner and fiscal agent for the federal PSN grant award. This partnership further enhances their public safety commitment to implement effective gang and gun violence reduction strategies. All PSN funding is disseminated to address one or more of the following PSN National objectives:
- Implement programs and policies that work to reduce firearm-related crime
- Encourage effective, ongoing collaborative arrangements with federal partners and establish new cooperative agreements where necessary
- Enhance the partnership between the local police departments, state police, federal law enforcement partner, local nonprofit organizations, and probation or parole involved in the programs
- Strengthen pre-trial and re-entry service programs for adult and juvenile offenders at risk of becoming involved in firearm-related violence upon release
- Implement anti-gang measures through innovative and collaborative initiatives
- Create a strategy for improving the methods for identifying firearm-related crime patterns and gang activity
- Develop and/or enhance non-traditional partnerships between the faith-based and community-based programs and law enforcement
- Develop policies, educational programs, and training for police departments to improve statistical maintenance of all gun-related calls for service and arrests
MA PSN Funded Initiatives
MA State Police Forensic Services Group is a state government laboratory dedicated to providing quality forensic services within the Commonwealth. It is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board Legacy program. Under this PSN partnership, the MA State Police will prioritize the processing of drug evidence seized for cases identified by the USAO as priority. Successful prosecution on federal drug charges under this collaboration can result in dangerous gang affiliated criminals involved with dealing drugs being kept off the streets and possibly receiving longer sentences for their crimes committed.
The PSN Statewide Research Partner, Dr. Anthony Braga is the Chief Policy Advisor for the Boston Police Department, serves as a Senior Research Associate at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and is a former Visiting Fellow at the U.S. National Institute of Justice. Dr. Braga collects and analyzes data to measure gun violence and gun crime in the District of Massachusetts. His research projects include strategic crime mapping as well as providing in depth descriptions and network analyses of gangs and criminal groups.
The PSN Statewide Media Partner Stop Handgun Violence Inc., facilitates the production of informational brochures, wallet cards, posters, and videos aimed at educating the public about the dangers of being involved in gang and gun related crime. In 2009, Stop Handgun Violence received the national US Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Community Partnerships for Public Safety under PSN.
Gun Collection Kits are created and contain all the needed materials necessary for an officer to deal with the unexpected encounter of a handgun. Approximately 2000 kits are created annually and stored with the MA State Police Fusion Center. Kits are disbursed on an as-needed basis as departments submit guns to the Center for testing.
PSN Statewide Gang Prevention Summit and Law Enforcement Training are provided annually for law enforcement officers and community stakeholders. Each training usually has between 300-500 participants and focus on topics such as Characteristics of Armed Offenders, State and Federal Firearms Laws, Comprehensive Firearms Protocols Tracing and Promising Violence Prevention and Community Based Diversion Programs.
For more information about the Massachusetts PSN program, contact Kevin Stanton, PSN State Administrator at 617-725-3363 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the National PSN program, visit the website.