LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - United States Attorney Erin Nealy Cox, along with law enforcement officials from around Lubbock, announced Friday the introduction of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program with the Department of Justice.
The PSN initiative is a collaboration between federal, state and local law enforcement that targets a specific area within a community with high crime rates. The goal of the program is to ward off crime, educate people on ways to avoid repeat offenses – which is known as recidivism – and host community outreach events.
The program has also been introduced in Amarillo and Dallas. Statistics taken by the police departments in those areas showed violent crime rates have dropped compared to the stats from the year before, Cox said.
“What we have found with this program is that when crime is latched with geographic focus, it dissipates,” Cox said.
In Lubbock, the department has collected data that shows the highest rates of crime were concentrated in Central Lubbock, mainly west of Interstate 27 down to South Loop 289. The neighborhoods in this area are the Mahon, Arnett-Benson, Jackson, Clapp Park and Bayless-Atkins.
The most common crime reported is aggravated assault, Cox said. The number of aggravated assault cases has also increased between 30-40 percent over the past four years.
“These residents have gradually seen a palpable decline in the vitality and characteristics of their neighborhood,” Jerry Brewer, interim police chief for the Lubbock Police Department said. “This lends itself to the perception or feeling of being unsafe in the place where they should be safe: their home.”
He went on to say if there is no intervention from law enforcement the problem of violent crime will continue to get worse.
Law enforcement helping with this collaboration said because there will be more emphasis on stopping violent crime in Central Lubbock that does not mean there will be more arrest.
“Our goal is not to arrest as many people as we can, but to protect and serve the community by reducing violent crime and the number of victims (who are) harmed and are effected by instances of violence,” Augustine Lugo, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said.