Published time: 21 Jun, 2017 03:00
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that a dozen cities will receive additional federal agents to combat violent crime.
The list includes: Birmingham, Alabama; Springfield, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Lansing, Michigan; Kansas City, Missouri; Buffalo, New York; Cincinnati and Toledo, Ohio; Jackson and Memphis, Tennessee; and Houston, Texas.
“Our nation’s violent-crime rate is rising. In many of our urban areas, this increase is staggering,” Sessions said.
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, there was an overall increase of 5.3 percent in the number of violent crimes in the US for the first six months of 2016, compared with the same period in 2015. However, even with this one-year increase in crime, the US is said to be at a 51-year low.
Chicago, which accounts for a large share in the rise in the nation’s homicide rate, is notably not on Sessions’ list. The Justice Department said it expected that more cities would be added later, pointing that additional agents had already been sent to Chicago.
DOJ spokesman Ian Prior tried to explain the choice of the cities on the list.
“To be considered for selection, a site must have levels of violence that far exceed the national average,” Prior said. “PSP sites must also demonstrate a commitment to reducing violent crime and be ready to receive the intensive training and technical assistance available.”
The Department of Justice underlined that the cities will be receiving more manpower, not funding. The federal agents dispatched to the various communities will be assisting local prosecutors and law enforcement and their task includes assessing the factors driving violent crime at local level.