Today, United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced the first quarter results of the Middle District of Florida’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) strategy as the FBI statistics show a 30% increase in violent crime in 2020 compared to the previous year. This is heartbreaking. For years, America had been experiencing steadily falling crime rates. But now, our country is heading back to a level of urban criminality not witnessed since the early 1990s.
Predictably, the left is trying to place the blame on anyone but themselves. They want to say that the problem is due to the pandemic, the economy, and guns. The PSN reports shows a focus on the latter. According to Handberg, ” Over the past three months, PSN prosecutors in the Middle District of Florida have prosecuted 130 defendants for federal firearms and violent crime offenses. Those prosecutions have removed more than 300 firearms from our streets. ”
Handberg says that PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts and characterizes it as “an evidence-based program which has proven to be effective at reducing violent crime by engaging a broad spectrum of stakeholders working together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in communities and developing comprehensive solutions that reduce crime. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses on prevention and intervention efforts through community engagement and problem-solving partnerships, strategic enforcement of the most violent offenders, and locally based reentry programs to reduce recidivism.” – Yet, while not all the numbers are compiled yet, it appears the trend actually accelerated in some cities. CNN reports that “Major crimes in New York City spiked nearly 60% in February compared to the same month in 2021 — a large majority occurring in a small swath of the metropolis — as Mayor Eric Adams rolled out his plan to combat gun violence and crime in the city:
Handberg adds that as part of its PSN strategy, each of the five divisions of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida (USAO-MDFL) have engaged in violent crime reduction strategies in 2022, including:
Orlando – Five Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) have been assigned to exclusively prosecute violent crime, narcotics, and firearms cases. Each AUSA also serves as a liaison to a specific law enforcement agency that investigates violent crimes.
Jacksonville – AUSAs meet weekly with fellow Crime Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC) partners (Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Clay County Sheriff’s Office, State Attorney’s Office – Fourth Judicial Circuit, ATF, DEA and FBI) to develop investigations. Staff members also participate in local reentry programs (Baker, Lawtey, and Columbia Correctional) and school outreach presentations.
Ocala – AUSAs have teamed up with the State Attorney’s Office for the Fifth Judicial Circuit, ATF, DEA, FBI, the Ocala Police Department, and the Marion, Lake, and Citrus County Sheriff’s Offices to locate, seize, and prosecute individuals who unlawfully possess firearms.
Tampa – The number of dedicated violent crime prosecutors has increased to 11. In addition, as part of an ongoing partnership with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, two defendants have recently been charged in a drug-related homicide case (United States v. Grable, et al).
Ft. Myers – Relationships with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies have been enhanced through the USAO-MDFL Violent Crime Working Group in an effort to identify offenders and coordinate investigations and prosecutions involving firearms-related offenses.
Districtwide – An increase in our proactive community outreach strategy has allowed staff to further engage community-based organizations, educational institutions, and service agencies in an effort to prevent and decrease future gun-related incidents.
While it is always good to remove violent criminals off the streets, the PSN is short of details and lacks the evidence Handberg alluded to: Stop and Frisk in NYC was very simple to understand and was extremely effective, for example. PSN is not simple to break down and not enough detail is provided to conclude it’s effectiveness
The US Attorney’s announcement happens to coincide with Crime Survivors Awareness Month, but while awareness is important, it may be more important to call out the enablers: A business axiom says “don’t ask for data you won’t use.” Yet All #FBI field offices around the country regularly run “report hate crime” PSAs. Its own 2021 Hate Crime Statistics Report show who is more likely to commit a hate crime so that a Stop and Frisk-type of approach could be implemented
It shows for example that parents who show up at school board meetings are not likely to be terrorists. But MSN reports that “for the past few months, outbursts, screaming, and yelling have become commonplace at CCSD Board of Trustees meetings. Issues like mask and vaccine mandates and discussions of race in public schools are igniting anger nationwide and causing divides to deepen, framing the issue from the mandate’s advocate’s perspective and not the parents‘
The FBI also knows which public officials spew hate & call for violence:
It knows that Soros-backed DAs are way too soft on crime. For example: Mr Anh Le was savagely beaten with a bat by two people in Chinatown, San Francisco. Despite the high hate crime rate in the city, The San Francisco DA plea-deal so the perpetrators did not get jail time – Mr Le had to sue to get justice
While todays PSN announcement is positive, its a small step in trying to reduce violent crime, not only in Florida, but all across America.