(U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph) - Two years ago, the Department of Justice announced the revitalization and enhancement of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the department’s violent crime reduction strategy.
PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.
Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally-based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
Throughout the past two years, the department’s United States Attorneys have partnered with all levels of law enforcement, local organizations, and members of the community to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. According to the FBI’s 2018 Uniform Crime Report released last week, the violent crime rate decreased for the second consecutive year, down 3.9 percent from the 2017 numbers. The 2018 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 368.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants.
“The revitalized Project Safe Neighborhoods program is a major success,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “It packs a powerful punch by combining advanced data with local leadership, further reducing violence in communities across the country and improving overall public safety. U.S. Attorneys continue to focus their enforcement efforts against the most violent criminals and work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal police. The Justice Department’s relationships across the board have never been stronger.”
“My number one priority remains aggressively prosecuting violent crime in the Western District of Louisiana through the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph. “PSN is a proven strategy that works when federal, state and local law enforcement partners come together to identify and prioritize prosecution of the most violent criminals in our neighborhoods — holding them accountable for their crimes and preventing future criminal conduct. We will not allow a culture of violence to deprive honest, hardworking Louisianans of the freedoms and opportunities we cherish as Americans. I want to thank the prosecutors from my office and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners for their hard work and dedication over the past year to make our communities safer.”
Throughout the past year, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana has continued to make good on its promise to prioritize reducing violent crime through the implementation of PSN throughout the district. Monthly meetings are being held with prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and violent crime task forces from the five metropolitan cities within the district, consisting of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers as well as state prosecutors.
Directly as a result of this collaboration, teamwork, and shared intelligence and resources, approximately three times the number of firearm and violent crime offenses were charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as compared to prior years.
Some of the more notable cases charged in the Western District of Louisiana under this initiative are as follows:
• On August 27, 2019, DeMarcus D. Morris, ring leader of the “Block Boyz” gang, was sentenced to over 33 years in prison and each of the other members were sentenced to substantial prison time. The “Block Boyz” was a notorious street gang that long terrorized Shreveport neighborhoods using the west side of the Queensborough neighborhood as their base of operations. On October 3, 2018, following a two-week trial, five gang members were convicted of RICO and other offenses. The remaining defendants pleaded guilty.
• On August 1, 2019, Lakendria Nicole Goings and David Ray Johnson were convicted by a federal jury in Monroe, Louisiana, for an armed bank robbery spree involving three financial institutions and multiple firearms violations.
• Just last week, Ivory Carl Myers was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the armed robbery of a shift manager at a Bossier City Burger King. Myles took the money after threatening to kill the manager and forced the victim at gunpoint to leave the Burger King with him. On the way to Houston, Texas, he sexually assaulted his victim on two occasions.
• Demarcus Jontue Scales, a violent repeat offender in Alexandria, Louisiana, was sentenced last week to 44 months in federal prison for felon in possession of a firearm. The 44-month sentence will run consecutively with his 15-year state court sentence for murder.
• On March 18, 2019, seven-time convicted felon, Anthony Joseph Meaux, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Meaux’s previous convictions include simple burglary, simple robbery, and drug-related offenses.
Improvements to Community Safety
The U.S. Attorney’s consistent engagement and collaboration with law enforcement and the commitment of substantial resources by our partners at the federal, state, and local levels have proven effective in reducing violent crime.
FBI data shows that violent crime rates dropped in the Western District of Louisiana even more than the national average of 3.9 percent. Specifically, 2018 saw violent crime drop 38% in Monroe, 14% in Shreveport, 9% in Lake Charles, and 5% in Lafayette. Violent crime in the major metropolitan cities in the Western District of Louisiana decreased from 4,997 events in 2017 to 4,206 events in 2018. This resulted in 791 fewer victims of violent crime in the Western District of Louisiana.
Copyright 2019 U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph. All rights reserved.