Crime Initiatives

Project Safe Neighborhoods
-Project Fed-Up
Operation Spotlight Operation Impact
Operation Weed & Seed Integrated Domestic Violence Part Bronx Treatment Court
Bronx Mental Health Court Elder Abuse Initiative  

Project Safe Neighborhoods

Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) was introduced in January 2002 as a national strategy designed to reduce gun violence in America through the combined efforts of local police and prosecutors, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Under this grant program, the Bronx District Attorney is collaborating with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to reduce the number of illegal guns on the streets of the Bronx.

As part of this effort, defendants charged with either illegal sale or possession of guns are interviewed. A detective investigator and an assistant district attorney debrief such defendants in an effort to obtain information that will form the basis for long-term investigations of weapons trafficking and the issuance of search warrants for the seizure of weapons. This effort is further enhanced with state funding, which provides resources to conduct complex sting operations and purchase illegal guns. Click here.

In 2006 the Department of Justice split the PSN funding into two separate programs: the original anti-gun program and a new anti-gang program. The Bronx District Attorney’s PSN Anti-Gang program was implemented in the Soundview/Bruckner Weed and Seed area and has both a prevention component and an enforcement component. The prevention portion involves the Explorers programs from the 43rd Precinct and Police Service Area (PSA) 8, which serves NYCHA developments in the area. PSN funds were used to purchase uniforms and insurance required to participate in the Explorers and to purchase pressure washers and materials for removal of gang-related graffiti. In addition, this Office conducted a number of anti-gang workshops for children, youth and adults in the area.

The Bronx District Attorney’s anti-gang enforcement strategy focuses on problems with a number of gangs in the area. In addition to coordinating with federal and local partners, improving collection and sharing of gang-related intelligence, the Chief of the Bronx District Attorney’s Gang Prosecutions Bureau has assigned an assistant district attorney to prosecute gang cases from this area. The Office also assigned a detective investigator to be dedicated to gang investigations in the 43rd and 40th Precincts. Cases from the area are reviewed by the Chief of the Bronx District Attorney’s Gang Prosecutions Bureau and the detective investigator.

Operation Spotlight
Operation Spotlight is a multi-agency Citywide initiative that targets misdemeanor recidivists who commit crimes that affect quality of life. Defendants targeted by this initiative must be arrested for a misdemeanor and have at least two additional arrests within the preceding 12 months (one of which must be a non-felony). Such offenders commit a disproportionate amount of crime.Defendants meeting Operation Spotlight criteria are automatically identified on rap sheets produced by New York State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services. All such flagged cases receive enhanced prosecutorial attention. A specialized court hears Operation Spotlight cases. As a result of the initiative, the processing of narcotics laboratory reports is expedited, probation and parole revocations are fast-tracked, trial capacity is increased, and direct links are established to services for drug-addicted and mentally ill defendants. Operation Spotlight has led to an increase in the percentage of eligible defendants detained on bail and an increase in the percentage receiving jail sentences.
Operation Impact
Operation Impact was launched in January 2003. This initiative’s goal is to reduce crime – especially violent crime – by deploying additional police officers to strategically targeted locations or "impact zones" with higher levels of crime. Recent Police Academy graduates are assigned to field training in impact areas. These areas are selected based on an analysis of crime patterns identified through the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD’s) Compstat program. Operation Impact targets gang and narcotic activity as well as people with outstanding warrants. The NYPD monitors criminal activity in impact zones daily.
Operation Weed & Seed
The District Attorney’s Office in cooperation with the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York and community leaders has initiated a "Weed & Seed" program in which enhanced police and prosecution resources are dedicated to a designated area of the Bronx. The program seeks to "weed out" drug traffickers and violent gangs while "seeding" the community with community programs and federal resources to improve the quality of life. This project serves the Bronx River, Soundview, Bruckner neighborhoods of the 43rd Precinct. There is an additional Weed and Seed Site now located in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx which is covered by the 40th Precinct.
Integrated Domestic Violence Court
The Bronx has the highest rate in the City of domestic violence reports per hundred thousand population. On October 22, 2001, a new integrated domestic violence (IDV) court part opened in Bronx Criminal Court, the first in the state. This part is a combined Criminal Court, Supreme Court and Family Court Part and was implemented in recognition that domestic violence often involves not only criminal matters but other family matters. For example, a woman who has been assaulted by her husband may obtain a “full stay away” order of protection. If the couple has children together and the father wants to see the children, he must go to Family Court to obtain visitation rights. In the past these two cases would have proceeded completely independently in different courts. Now they are sent to the IDV Part for adjudication and heard by one judge, who is aware of the circumstances surrounding all cases. Click here.
Bronx Treatment Court
Since 1999, the Bronx Treatment Court (BXTC) has provided substance abuse treatment under close judicial supervision to felony narcotics offenders as an alternative to incarceration. BXTC, like the national drug court model, includes swift defendant assessment and placement in treatment, close judicial supervision of offenders, urinalysis and graduated sanctions and incentives. The Bronx Treatment Court is a collaborative effort of the Office of Court Administration, the Bronx District Attorney's Office, the Bronx defense bar and drug treatment providers.

Defendants must be 19 years of age or older, charged with committing specific crimes and have no prior convictions for felonies or violent crimes. BXTC defendants plead guilty to a felony charge with deferred sentence and immediately enter treatment. Defendants who successfully complete the 12-18 month treatment program have their felony charges dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor. Participants who fail to complete treatment are sentenced to a state prison term of two-to-six years. Click here.

Bronx Mental Health Court

The Bronx District Attorney’s Office has been diverting defendants to drug treatment for many years and in October 1992 developed formal partnerships to do so. Over time it became clear that some of these defendants were suffering from both drug dependency and mental illness. While staff always tried to place such non-violent defendants in treatment programs that were appropriate for persons with dual diagnoses, in 2002 we entered into a formal partnership with Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime (TASC), New York University and Research Triangle Institute to create the Bronx Mental Health Court. Eligibility for diversion to the Bronx Mental Health Court was extended to defendants with serious mental illness (with or without drug dependency) in 2003. In 2004, the court’s capacity was further expanded to provide services for mentally ill defendants with HIV/AIDS.

In 2006 the US Department of Justice designated the Bronx Mental Health Court a national model for treatment alternatives to incarceration for defendants with mental illness. Using federal funds to provide mental health and drug dependence screening and assessment, placement and program evaluation, staff recommended 156 defendants for placement in 2006 through the Mental Health Court. These defendants are subject to the same level of supervision and sanctions as other diverted defendants.

Elder Abuse Initiative
The Bronx District Attorney's Office has partnered with the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale and the Bronx Office of Adult Protective Services to form the Elder Abuse Initiative and Multi-Disciplinary Task Force to serve the law enforcement, social service and senior community. To heighten public awareness and prevention strategies, we provide lectures, attend health and information fairs and disseminate educational materials on elder abuse. For more information, call (718) 590-2260 or (718) 590-2272. Click here for brochure.

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