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Missoula officials claim success with Project Safe Neighborhoods

Posted at 4:00 PM, May 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-30 18:48:43-04

MISSOULA – Missoula officials are claiming success with the Project Safe Neighborhoods program after a new report shows violent crime is down in the county.

Its been a year since Montana Attorney General Tim Fox came to Missoula to explain the new initiative and on Wednesday officials gathered to talk about how it’s done so far in the community.

The Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative is a nationwide attempt at preventing drug and violent crimes by connecting all levels of law enforcement.

The program is trying to make your neighborhood safer and since its initiation last year the numbers from here in Montana show that the program is working.

“A year ago this group made clear if you commit armed robbery, push meth or commit a firearms offense you will be arrested and you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” US Attorney for Montana Kurt Alme said.

“We have made good on that promise. In our office, 43 defendants have been charged by this office with meth distribution, armed robbery and firearms offenses. Of the arrests for those, 43 law enforcement seized over 20 pounds of meth, which represents over 74,000 doses.”

Missoula officials also say Project Safe Neighborhoods continues to show positive results.

“Kurt talked a little bit about the federal numbers but since we started the project a year ago the Missoula County Attorney’s Office has prosecuted 26 individuals pursuant to this project,” Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst said.  “Those range from drug offenses, drug dealers, drug users, violent offenders.”

With one year of experience under their belt, the program now has an idea of how to improve those numbers for another year that includes a more analytic approach to combat these crimes.

“So what we have been doing is working with [Missoula Police] Chief Brady and also with Chief St. John in Yellowstone County to try to analyze violent crime files so right now there is a project underway to do that,” Alme said.

“I’ll let the chief talk about that a little more but the ultimate goal is to try to better understand who is committing the violent crime, why they are committing it,” Alme added.

“Where is it being committed and when it’s being committed so that we can all be smarter about how we allocate law enforcement resources to try to prevent it from occurring in the first place.”

One law enforcement agency has already started to take a deeper analytical approach and on Thursday MTN News will speak with Chief Mike Brady about how MPD is starting to look deeper into violent crime statistics.

Reporting by Connor McCauley for MTN News