Texas LE officials see dip in violent crimes after project launch
The project focuses police and legal resources to curb violent crime and improve the relationship between law enforcement and the community
By Gabriel Monte AGN Media
Amarillo Globe-News, Texas
AMARILLO, Texas — Local, state and federal law enforcement officials launched Friday a Department of Justice initiative aimed at dissipating a violent crime hot spot in Lubbock after seeing encouraging results from the same program in Amarillo.
About an 8.66-square-mile strip in the center of Lubbock was designated a Project Safe Neighborhoods area. Similar to other cities, the project focuses police and legal resources to curb violent crime and improve the relationship between law enforcement and the community.
"What we have found with this program is that when crime lacks a geographic locus, it dissipates," said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox, the chief federal prosecutor in the Northern District of Texas, during a news conference at the Lubbock police headquarters. "And when a community trusts law enforcement, it thrives.
The DOJ's first Project Safe Neighborhoods city in Texas was Dallas and launched in February 2018. Cox said Dallas Police Department statistics showed a 29% drop in violent crime in the area of focus in the first quarter of this year compared to the same time last year.
Amarillo was added to the initiative six months ago and violent crimes in the targeted area dipped by 5%, Cox said.
Community outreach is also part of the initiative, which includes hosting community events aimed at strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and the community and teaching returning offenders about avoiding re-offending.
"This includes meetings at schools, this includes community events that, normally you'd see local enforcement at these events, we're going to be bringing in a number of our different law enforcement partners as well as the prosecutors there," Cox said. "So the community can get to know who's working on their behalf."
"This line is monitored by federal agents, who will route the tip to the appropriate law enforcement agency," said Cox, who was surrounded at the podium Friday by representatives of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. "And as the saying goes, if you see something, say something. And it's certainly what we want to encourage this community to do."
©2019 Amarillo Globe-News, Texas