The Department of Justice’s Eastern District of Michigan office announced on June 6 that federal agencies will work alongside local law enforcement in Detroit to address violent crime this summer.
United States Attorney Dawn Ison, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Police Chief James White are partnering up for an initiative to reduce gun violence in neighborhoods with highest violent crime rates.
The initiative, called Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), brings together resources from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, ATF, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and Detroit Police Department to crack down on crime in the neighborhoods of the 8th and 9th Precincts, which consistently have the highest numbers of fatal and nonfatal shootings, aggravated assaults with a deadly weapon and robberies.
“Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders works together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. PSN is an evidence-based program that focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs to pursue lasting reductions in crime,” a DOJ press release stated.
PSN’s strategy is to reduce gun violence through enhanced law enforcement cooperation and prosecution efforts. In particular, this will allow felons arrested for possession of a firearm in designated “hot spots” to be prosecuted federally.
At the same time, the City of Detroit will focus on alleviating quality of life issues in the specified areas.
“Through this partnership, we will focus strategically on the drivers of violence in our most dangerous communities,” Ison said. “This strategy is designed to significantly reduce violence by narrowly focusing on those who are committing it and to give these neighborhoods back to the majority of the residents who want to live in peace.”
Duggan said that the new partnership will allow hardened criminals in these high-crime neighborhoods to be brought to justice so communities can have a safer summer.
“The two areas Detroit Police have been intensely focused on are the 8th and 9th Precincts, where we typically see the highest rate of gun-related crimes, especially during the summer months,” he said. “I’m deeply appreciative to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for implementing the new policy of having cases of felons found in possession of a gun in these precincts go immediately to federal prosecution. Federal law enforcement agencies in Detroit have worked very closely with DPD and the community. This new initiative makes it clear they will remain strong community partners in making neighborhoods safer for Detroit residents.”
Chief White said that the PSN program will ensure that felons arrested in these areas for drug trafficking crimes or firearm possession will face harsher penalties.
For instance, while a state charge for felons convicted for possession of a gun carries up to five years in prison, a federal charge can come with a 10-year prison sentence.
FBI and ATF spokespersons added that their agencies will assist in investigations targeting gang leadership in the city throughout the duration of the initiative, which will continue up until Labor Day.