DOJ launches initiative targeting violent crime in 7 major cities

The Trump Justice Department has just announced a new initiative that will target seven major cities with violent crime problems as part of a crackdown effort, Attorney General Bill Barr announced on Wednesday.

Operation Relentless Pursuit was revealed in a news conference in Detroit, Michigan in which Barr was joined by the heads of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and the U.S. Marshals Service, the Associated Press reported.

Trump admin prioritizes fighting crime

The Department of Justice (DOJ) initiative will largely focus on tracking down and apprehending violent criminals, wanted felons and fugitives, drug dealers and traffickers, and those who traffick and use illegal firearms in crimes.

Federal law enforcement agencies will team up with local and state law enforcement in the violent crime-plagued cities of Detroit; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Baltimore, Maryland; Cleveland, Ohio; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin — all of which suffer from violent crime rates that are substantially higher than the national average.

“Fighting violent crime is one of the priorities of this administration,” Barr said, according to the AP. “In a number of cities, it’s a stubborn problem. The federal government can’t attack this problem alone. It depends on collaboration with state and local partners.”

The DOJ-led crackdown will involve bolstering various task forces with additional federal agents in those cities and includes $71 million in federal grant funds that can be used to fund the task forces, hire new officers, pay for overtime, and purchase new equipment.

 “Americans deserve to live in safety”

“Americans deserve to live in safety,” Barr said of the initiative in a DOJ press release. “And while nationwide violent crime rates are down, many cities continue to see levels of extraordinary violence.”

He went on: “Operation Relentless Pursuit seeks to ensure that no American city is excluded from the peace and security felt by the majority of Americans, while also supporting those who serve and protect in these communities with the resources, training, and equipment they need to stay safe.”

Regina Lombardo, acting director of the ATF, made it clear that — unlike blanket proposals offered up by Democrats — the agents under her command would focus their attention on “the trigger-pullers, firearm traffickers, violent criminals and those who supply them the guns to terrorize our communities.” That effort would include using the ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network to help trace and identify firearms used in violent crimes.

The head of the DEA, acting administrator Uttam Dhillon, noted that his agents would be targeting drug traffickers at both the cartel and street level, and U.S. Marshals Service Director Donald Washington would be tasked to “make communities safer by addressing violent crime at its core and taking the worst of the worst fugitives and other felons off the streets.”

A roadmap for other communities

Meanwhile, the DOJ and FBI would be providing expertise and resources to help coordinate the federal agencies with the local and state counterparts in the effort to combat and reduce violent crime in the targeted cities.

Hopefully, this initiative will see some success that will not only make those cities safer but could also be carried over to other major cities and communities where violent crime, particularly that related to drugs and illegal firearms, is a problem.

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