Following the success they’ve seen in Newark, federal authorities are bringing “Project Safe Neighborhoods” to Jersey City, a strategy to reduce violent crime.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and re-entry programs for lasting reductions in crime, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a media release yesterday.
In line with the Justice Department’s priority to combat violent crime, the District of New Jersey designated three cities – Newark, Camden and Jersey City – as its Project Safe Neighborhoods target areas.
In the one year since the DOJ announced its relaunching of the PSN program, it has already shown measurable progress in the prosecution and deterrence of violent criminals in these communities.
“Project Safe Neighborhoods is a proven program with demonstrated results. We know that the most effective strategy to reduce violent crime is based on sound policing policies that have proven effective over many years, which includes being targeted and responsive to community needs,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
“I have empowered our United States Attorneys to focus enforcement efforts against the most violent criminals in their districts, and directed that they work together with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners to develop tailored solutions to the unique violent crime problems they face.”
To implement the goals of PSN and combat violent crime in Newark, the Violent Crime Initiative (VCI) was formed in August 2017 by the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office, the City of Newark’s Department of Public Safety and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
As part of this partnership, federal, state, county, and city agencies collaborate and pool resources to investigate and prosecute violent offenders who endanger the safety of the community.
The VCI includes the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshal’s Office, the Newark Department of Public Safety, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, the N.J. State Parole Board, the Union County Jail, the N.J. State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center/Real Time Crime Center, the N.J. Department of Corrections, the East Orange Police Department and the Irvington Police Department.
“The cases described below illustrate just how effective law enforcement can be when federal, state, and local partners all work together and focus their resources on the most serious violent offenders,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito added.
“Our joint efforts are reducing violent crime in the communities most affected by it. Street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, we are making those areas safer.”
According to statistics provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, results have been favorable in Newark over the past year.
Between March and September 2018, 28 alleged members of a drug trafficking organization that dealt kilogram-quantities of heroin in and around Newark, specifically the area near Hayes Street and 14th Avenue, were charged federally with narcotics and firearms offenses.
The organization is composed of members of the Brick City Brims set of the Bloods street gang, many of whom have perpetrated violence against, and been the targets of violence by, rivals in connection with their narcotics trafficking and gang activities.
Additionally, as part of this ongoing investigation, at least six firearms have been seized.
Furthermore, last month, six alleged members of a drug trafficking organization led by Andre Mims were prosecuted federally for distributing heroin throughout Newark, including to customers who traveled from all over New Jersey and even as far as Florida.
Two defendants are also charged with firearms offenses and at least an additional 15 defendants tied to the organization are being prosecuted by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
As part of the collaborative efforts by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, two firearms were seized in connection with the investigation.