Crime Control That Works

In: All News   Posted 05/13/2003

WASHINGTON—The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday took up the critical issue of crime control, and the President’s initiative, Project Safe Neighborhoods: America’s Network Against Gun Violence. At the hearing, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the committee, discussed the success of Texas Exile, an initiative similar to Project Safe Neighborhoods that he implemented as Texas Attorney General in 1999 with then-Gov. George W. Bush. U.S. attorneys, law enforcement officials and academics from across the nation testified at the hearing."I believe that our success in Texas speaks for itself and foreshadows success for Project Safe Neighborhoods,” Cornyn said at the hearing. “The President’s plan will provide more options to prosecutors, allowing them to utilize local, state, and federal laws to ensure that criminals who commit gun crime face tough sentences, while allowing for the flexibility to focus on individual challenges that each community faces.” Texas Exile, a crime control initiative that takes guns from career criminals without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens has proven successful in Texas. As a result, through May 2, 2003, the program produced 2,020 indictments; 1,478 convictions and 2,482 gun confiscations in Texas."Texas Exile, and similar programs around the country work because they get at the root of our crime problem: the criminals who terrorize our citizens, and make neighborhoods unsafe,” Cornyn said. “If you carry a gun illegally in Texas, you will see the business end of a prison cell.” the President announced the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative in May 2001, and it has grown to a nationwide program to reduce gun crime through existing local programs that target gun crime and by providing such programs with the tools they need to maximize that success. The project shuns the one-size-fits-all approach in favor of a decentralized effort to allow the U.S. attorney in each district to design and implement a locally-based program tailored to the needs of the community following five core elements: partnerships, strategic plan, training, outreach and accountability. Testifying at the hearing were U.S. Attorneys Paul Warner of Utah, Paul J. McNulty of the Eastern District of Virginia, Todd P. Graves of the Western District of Missouri and Patrick L. Meehan of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Law enforcement officials at the hearing included Capt. Russell Edward Spann of the West Valley Police Department, Utah and commander of ATF’s PSN Gun Task Force, Chief Dennis Mook of the Newport News Police Department, Donald R. Totaro, district attorney for Lancaster County, Penn., President Charles L. Curtis of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission as well as Professors Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University and Jens Ludwig of Georgetown Public Policy Institute.