roject Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which plays a major role in the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction strategy, is making a difference in Killeen and San Antonio—two cities in the Western District of Texas where the program is being implemented, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash.
PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. According to FBI’s 2018 Crime in the United States Report released this week, for the second consecutive year, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation decreased 3.3 percent from the 2017 number. The violent crime rate fell 3.9 percent when compared with the 2017 rate. The 2018 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 368.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants.
“Through DOJ’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program, we have partnered with all levels of law enforcement, local organizations, and members of the community to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash. “Those efforts are now starting to pay off, but we have a lot more work to do. It is gratifying to know that our work is saving lives and that we are taking steps toward ensuring that every kid, regardless of zip code, has the opportunity to grow up in a neighborhood free from violence.”
In Killeen, federal authorities are working with local authorities to get violent criminals off the street. Since October 2017, authorities have filed federal firearms/drug charges against more than 150 convicted felons, drug dealers in possession of firearms and other persons prohibited from possessing firearms in the Temple/Killeen areas. These filings demonstrate an increase of more than 300% in federal charges filed over the previous fiscal year for offenses in the same areas. According to the Killeen Police Department*, cases involving: Unlawful Possession by a Felon are down 25%; Prohibited Weapons are down 142%; Deadly Conduct are down 46%; and, Murder/Capital Murder are down 84% over the past two years. (*KPD 2019 stats through 7.31.19)
In the past year, approximately 70 narcotics traffickers were convicted and sentenced to federal prison. In addition to removing drug traffickers from the area, law enforcement officers have been successful in getting drugs and firearms off the streets.
In San Antonio, statistical data reveals the same downward trend. According to the San Antonio Police Department, from 2017 to 2018, cases involving: Murder are down 14% (124-109); Robbery are down 29% (2087-1612); Deadly Conduct are down 25% (2017-1613); and, Rape are down 7% (366-241).
As part of the San Antonio Texas Anti-Gang Center’s (TAG) intervention and prevention program the TAG has deployed the Stopsanantoniogangs.org website to assist the public with reporting gang related activities in the greater San Antonio/Alamo area.
In early August, TAG received an anonymous tip from the StopSanAntonioGangs.org website which led to the arrest of fugitive Texas Mexican Mafia gang member, Robert Oyervides. Oyervides was a known violent Texas Mexican Mafia member suspected of aggravated assault. TAG law enforcement agencies, specifically the Texas Department of Public Safety investigators and San Antonio Police officers along with analysts, developed and followed up on the tip information to locate and arrest Oyervides with the assistance of U.S. Marshal’s Lone Star Fugitive Taskforce. Oyervides was wanted for Aggravated Assault in July 2019.
The website also provides education to the general public regarding the threat of criminal gangs. It also assists parents in detecting gang related indicators in their children’s behavior and activities to assist them in preventing their children’s continued gang involvement. In addition, they provide the public with an opportunity to submit anonymous gang related tips and wanted gang fugitive tips within the San Antonio/Alamo area. This website signifies a partnership between the public and law enforcement by giving the public an opportunity to team-up with, and contribute with police in deterring criminal gangs’ illegal activities.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods.