Operation Safe Home -- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General
In recent years, law-abiding residents of public and assisted housing have been terrorized by gun, gang, and drug activity that destroys the quality of life for residents and the surrounding community. The Operation Safe Home initiative was based on analysis by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of the Inspector General (OIG), that violent crime was seriously undermining the efficiency of the country's low-income housing programs. The rising tide of violence was due, in part, to poor communication and cooperation between housing authorities and local law enforcement; inadequate emphasis on crime prevention (as opposed to law enforcement); and fragmented Federal, State, and local law enforcement efforts.
Operation Safe Home seeks to address these problems by creating: (1) a collaboration of Federal, State, and local law enforcement focused on reducing the level of violent crime within public and assisted housing; (2) a collaboration between law enforcement agencies and public housing managers and residents to devise methods to prevent violent crime; and (3) the introduction of HUD and other Federal initiatives specifically geared to preventing crime.
In response to a request from a crime-plagued public or assisted housing community, a task force is assembled to identify persons who are engaged in illegal activity involving weapons or drugs within the publicly funded housing area and the housing units where the illegal activity is taking place. Evidence is then developed through the use of informants, cooperating witnesses, surveillance, and covert drug or gun purchases, and presented to Federal or State courts to secure arrest and/or search warrants. This traditional law enforcement phase may take several months from inception to prosecution. However, HUD/OIG's responsibility to the HUD-funded community does not end with arrests, but includes efforts to further the community's recovery, improve the quality of life for residents, and prevent the criminal element from reasserting control. The postenforcement strategies include: (1) formation of neighborhood watch groups; (2) institution of drug education, gun safety, and life skills programs; (3) implementation of efforts to rid housing complexes of trash and graffiti; and (4) institution of job training programs and reading programs for children.