DETROIT (WJBK) - Officials say a collaborative effort to crack down on violent crime appears to be working after Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered the reboot of a decades old program called Project Safe Neighborhoods a year ago.
"What we have are groups out there that are holding communities hostage with firearms and violence, and people are afraid," said James Deir, AFT special agent in charge.
That's why federal, state and local law enforcement have been cracking down with Project Safe Neighborhoods 2.0. The reboot of this decades old program started one year ago and the effort in Detroit they say is working.
"We're handling 14 percent more cases today than we were a year ago. Our drug cases are up, our immigration are cases up, our sentences are higher," said Matthew Schneider, U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Michigan.
Schneider says he just hired 18 new assistant U.S. attorneys. State, local and federal law enforcement are working together in a collaboration that means every single gun crime is reviewed and prosecuted at a federal level if possible.
"We are looking at every one of those cases - not only are we reviewing them, but we're presenting them," Deir said.
Last October, 14 members of the Playboy Crips were indicted on RICO charges -- organized crime, weapons, drugs. It's deep but getting these guys off the streets is key to giving neighborhoods back to the good people who live here, people who are instrumental in this collaboration.
"We couldn't do it without them. We couldn't do it without the community. And quite frankly, people are tired of it. They're tired of being afraid to go on their front porch. They're tired of hearing about young kids getting shot, 3 year olds getting shot, and enough is enough," Detroit Police Assistant Chief James White said.
Project Safe Neighborhoods is operating throughout the state but efforts in Detroit are concentrated in the 8th Precinct -- the most dangerous place for violent crime. Authorities say the program will also be in the 9th Precinct by next year. Violent crime continues to decrease, down 13 percent from the year before in the first half of 2018.
"This district leads the country in RICO indictments and that has been an instrumental tool in targeting these groups that are holding people at bay with firearms," Deir said.
Detroit police continue to ask for tips through Crime Stoppers, just call 1-800-SPEAK-UP and you can remain anonymous. You can also report anonymously to the ATF at 1-800-ATF-Tips or email ATFTips@atf.gov.
Tips may also be submitted anonymously to ATF using the Reportit app, available on both Google Play and the Apple App Store or by visiting www.reportit.com.