-By Jennifer Duval, HOA co-president
Lake Highlands Crime-Fighting Initiative Earns National Recognition
Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN), the federally sponsored crime fighting consortium operating in Lake Highlands, continues to find success. Not only has PSN achieved an overall reduction of crime in Lake Highlands at a time when violent crime in the city has spiked, but the program has earned national recognition from the office of U.S. Attorney General William Barr.
On October 23 at the DAR in Washington, D.C. the North Texas PSN initiative was honored as a Criminal Division Recipient for Excellence in Law Enforcement as part of the 67th Annual Attorney General’s Awards. This award recognizes outstanding professional achievements by law enforcement officers throughout the country. Honorees include North Texas PSN task force members:
Phillip J. “P.J.” Meitl
Assistant U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Texas
Jennifer E. Bain
Dallas Field Division
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Heather D. Burton and Amie Loos
Dallas Field Division
Krystal L. Offray
Task Force Officer
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Kassie L. Schiver and Calvin V. Scudder
Vincent B. Lee and Leroy L. Quigg
Joshua R. Cooper
Neighborhood Patrol Officer
Marcus Markulec and Michael S. Reuler
Task Force Officers
Dallas Police Department
Cody L. Robinson
Assistant City Attorney
Dallas City Attorney’s Office
Thomas G. Adams, Jr.
Assistant District Attorney
Organized Crime Division
Dallas County District Attorney’s Office
PSN continues to focus on the selected area in Northeast Dallas. To date, the team has charged more than 200 violent individuals with federal crimes and held more than 120 community meetings on public safety. These efforts have endured through a spike in both violent crime and general crime in the city of Dallas and during a time of diminishing DPD resources. The PSN efforts are ongoing and continue to rely on information received from citizens. Notably, the most successful prosecutions are those based on citizen complaints and engagement.
In addition, PSN has attempted to identify creative solutions to the ever-pressing problem of violent crime. For example, the PSN team has partnered with a non-profit known as Better Block on two hot spots in the target area to change the look and feel of crime hot spots. The hope of this effort is to make criminals less conformable in traditional hot spots and to encourage law-abiding citizens to spend more time in those areas.
The initiative is led by U.S. Attorney Erin Neely Cox, who heads the project, and Assistant U.S. Attorney P.J. Meitl. They lead a cooperative effort between federal, state, and local law enforcement to reduce repeated criminal activity by focusing on source, geography, and enablement. Project Safe Neighborhood was developed during President George W. Bush’s administration to enhance existing local law enforcement programs while rooting out causes of high crime in identified “hot spot” areas. The northeast Dallas location was chosen based on crime statistics compiled by a Texas Christian University criminologist.
Officers involved in the efforts for Lake Highlands include agents from the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas County Sheriff, the FBI, Texas Rangers, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The agencies all work together to investigate problem locations and make strategic arrests designed to produce a ripple effect and reduce overall crime.
This year, the PSN team has taken a new approach to addressing the persistent problems of robberies and domestic violence; using research and best practices from other jurisdictions. The PSN team seeks to utilize any strategy that will help reduce violent crime in the target area.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact AUSA P.J. Meitl at 202-494-6453 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.