DOJ: Federal efforts to reduce violent crime working in Memphis
By Christen Smith
Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew points out mug shots to Paris Police Chief Chuck Elizondo, Benton County Sheriff Kenny Christopher, Weakley County Sheriff Mike Wilson and U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant. (Photo: Henry County Sheriff’s Office).
Violent crime reports involving guns in Memphis declined nearly 18 percent in the first eight months of 2018, suggesting federal efforts to stifle illegal activity so far prove effective.
The Department of Justice applauded state and local law enforcement in West Tennessee last week for their effective use of federal resources — through Project Safe Neighborhoods — to boost prosecution of dangerous, repeat offenders within their district over the last year.
U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant said Friday the department’s invigoration of extra staff and supplemental funding helped increase the number of federal firearms cases filed by 47 percent and the number of defendants charged with gun offenses by over 61 percent.
“These efforts provide targeted prosecution of the worst-of-the-worst offenders to enhance public safety in Memphis and West Tennessee by removing guns from the hands of dangerous people and removing violent offenders from our communities,” he said.
Project Safe Neighborhoods, first launched in 2001, became the centerpiece of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s strategy for reducing violent crime across the nation