A program created and run by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office was recently recognized by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Project Safe Neighborhoods was named a semifinalist in the 2015 Innovations in American Government Awards Program.

“We are very proud of our crime prevention programs, and the work our lawyers do while interacting with our community on gang-crime reduction programs like this is invaluable,” District Attorney Mike Hestrin said. “I personally appreciate this very thoughtful recognition of that hard work from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.”

The school’s website describes PSN this way: “The Project Safe Neighborhoods program deters youth from gang involvement and delinquent behavior through powerful and effective parenting skills presentations and compelling and persuasive anti-gang presentations. With the collaboration and participation of various community partners and law enforcement agencies, experienced prosecutors travel throughout the county to teach youth about the devastating social and legal consequences of gang involvement and to encourage success and fulfillment through education.

“The program also teaches parents about gang paraphernalia, why youth get involved in gangs, the warning signs, and effective and powerful parenting strategies to keep their children out of gangs, drugs, and delinquency.

“The third component of the strategy trains educators and social services staff about local gangs, safety tips, documentation techniques, networking with the Gang Task Force, and strategies to connect and intervene with at-risk youth.”

PSN was created in 2005 by the DA’s Office, which continues to be dedicated and committed to reducing youth gang violence and delinquency in our community. The DA’s Office recognizes that anti-gang efforts must include and utilize a multifaceted approach that extends beyond traditional strategies.

After taking office in January 2015, DA Hestrin renamed the Project Safe Neighborhoods program to GAME – Gang Awareness Mentorship and Education.