Administration

Justice Dept announces new plan to reduce violent crime

The Department of Justice on Thursday announced a new plan to reduce violent crime by adding to the Project Safe Neighborhoods program launched in 2001.

The effort includes a $98 million grant to place more police officers on the street through the 2017 fiscal year's COPS Hiring Program. The plan will also place 40 prosecutors throughout about 20 U.S. attorney's offices, the department said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions described the Project Safe Neighborhoods program, which combats violent crime by providing more resources to local law enforcement, as "the centerpiece" of the department's efforts to reduce violent crime.

"Taking what we have learned since the program began in 2001, we have updated it and enhanced it, emphasizing the role of our U.S. Attorneys, the promise of new technologies, and above all, partnership with local communities," Sessions said in a statement.

"With these changes, I believe that this program will be more effective than ever and help us fulfill our mission to make America safer."

The department's Office of Justice Programs will also create what has been dubbed the Violence Reduction Response Center to help groups and agencies that require additional resources.

"We cannot be complacent or hope that this is just an anomaly: we have a duty to take action," Sessions said of the rate of violent crime.

Grant money has also been allocated to two cities, Kansas City, Mo., and Phoenix, to classify violent criminals using various technologies like detection systems for gunshots.

The approach will also help local law enforcement with gang investigations and increase the speed of the Urgent Trace Program under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives so trace requests will be provided information within 24 hours.

The Department of Justice since Sessions took over has emphasized the crackdown on violent crime.

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