Buffalo one of 12 cities in new partnership to combat violent crime

Attorney General Jeff Sessions left and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein take their seats at the Justice Department's National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety in Bethesda Md. on Tuesday

The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) announced Birmingham is among the 12 cities that will receive federal aid to help fight violent crime.

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 USA for the first six months of 2016, compared with the same period in 2015.

Tuesday, the Justice Department unveiled a new initiative to combat violent crime, selecting 12 cities whose levels of violence far exceed the national level.

"This spike in violent crime is not happening in every city in every neighborhood, but the trend is real and should concern all of us and it must not continue", the Attorney General noted.

President Trump regularly campaigned on restoring law and order and lowering crime rates.

The newly created National Public Safety Partnership program will assist prosecutors and local law enforcement, including by providing "diagnostics teams" to assess the factors driving crime at the local level.

The two-day conference was part of Mr. Sessions's focus on reducing crime, which has garnered him comparatively less attention than his recusal from the federal investigation into Russian election interference.

A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report from 2016 showed in the city of Jackson there were seven murders, over 1,000 reports of vandalism and nearly 2,000 reports of simple assault. "In many of our urban areas, this increase is staggering", Sessions said.

The program features a three-year initiative to help coordinate crime-fighting efforts among federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement and prosecutors, Sessions said in unveiling the new National Public Safety Partnership. Non-fatal shootings have increased 64 percent from 2014 to 2016.

In addition to violent crime, reports for all types of crime were lower in 2015 than at any point in at least the last 25 years.

A Department of Justice spokesman said Buffalo and the other cities were selected "through a process that considers both quantitative and qualitative measures".

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says city representatives were involved in meetings with the department early on, but there are still a lot of unknowns. "The Department of Justice will work with American cities suffering from serious violent crime problems".

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