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2 Minutes Read

North Dakota S.A.F.F.E.R Initiative on Violent Crime: A Criminal Defense Perspective  

An apparent increase in violent crime rates for North Dakota (and Fargo, ND, in particular) has led to a law enforcement push for more pronounced programs to curb it.  Recently, U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota Mac Schneider announced in a press conference, that a new initiative called the “S.A.F.F.E.R. Initiative” was being implemented to help bring down a rise in violent crime rate increase.  According to a press release, statistics show that “violent crime has risen 45% in Fargo since 2019, though those numbers appear to have leveled off in recent years.”  So the question must be asked: How does this effect criminal defense in North Dakota.


What is the S.A.F.F.E.R. Initiative?

U.S. Attorney Schneider announced a new federal initiative, by way of a three-part focus for the "Strategic Assistance for Fargo through Federal Enforcement and Resources" initiative during a press conference at the Quentin N. Burdick Courthouse in downtown Fargo, flanked by state, county, and local law enforcement as well as leaders from several federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


NIBEN Firearms Program

The S.A.F.F.E.R. Initiative  aims to use a new program for tracking firearms used in crimes.  "When a firearm is discharged, it ejects a shell casing and that leaves unique markings on the casing - much like a fingerprint for a gun. NIBEN uses cutting edge technology to collect 3D images of spent shell casings recovered from crime scenes, and then through comparison of these images within NIBEN, investigators can link shooting incidents in which the same gun was used, and match the casings from one crime scene to a specific firearm. So in other words, somebody drops a shell casing in Minneapolis - they take the same gun over on I-94 up to our community and engage in a shooting again. NIBEN is a real crime solving tool when it comes to cases like that."


What is the practical change, in any, in criminal defense?

There appears to be a likely increase in prosecution for firearms related offenses coming with this new initiative and program, which would necessarily bring about a need for help from an experienced criminal defense attorney here in ND.  If you are charged with a crime in North Dakota, take the time to reach out to get help. 








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