Attorney General Sessions Attacks Violent Crime
By Stephen Thayer, LELDF Associate
While campaigning last year, then candidate Trump, often referred to the growing opioid epidemic and the need to combat violent criminals and organizations.
On February 9, 2017, within weeks of being sworn in to office, he signed an Executive Order establishing a task force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.
In furtherance of the presidential order, Attorney General Sessions established the national Public Safety Partnership (PSP) in June 2017. PSP provides an innovative framework for DOJ to enhance its support of state, tribal, and local law enforcement officers and prosecutors in the investigation, prosecution, and deterrence of violent crime, especially that related to gun violence, gangs, and drug trafficking.
The timing of the initiative couldn’t be better. As AG Sessions noted in a recent speech, thanks in large measure to dedicated law enforcement officials, crime declined in America for 20 years. But over the last two years, the trends reversed. In 2015 and 2016, the violent crime rate rose nearly seven percent. Robberies were up. Assaults were up nearly 10 percent. Rape rose by nearly 11 percent. Murder has jumped by more than 20 percent, translating to thousands of additional bodies. And, according to the new Department of Justice study, nearly a quarter of the increase in homicides were drug-related.
More Americans are now dying from drug abuse and overdoes than ever before. Last year, an estimated 64,000 Americans died of drug overdoses—one every nine minutes. Millions of Americans are living with the daily struggle of addiction. And for Americans under age 50, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death. Because of the ongoing opioid crisis, Americans’ life expectancy has now gone down, again reversing the decades-long trend.
Reinvigorated Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) task forces forge federal, state, local, and tribal collaboration, targeting the violent offenders who commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime. They are hitting the streets in over fifteen cities across America to apprehend and bring violent criminals to justice.
AG Sessions is deploying 40 additional federal violent crime prosecutors with a plan to add an additional 260 in the coming months.
This is good news for those law abiding people who are unfortunate enough to live in the crime infested areas of our metropolitan areas, especially for those in the cities implementing the PSN program.
One such pilot area is Chicago, where over 600 people have been killed this year alone. This carnage and other violent crimes have a devastating effect on the families that live there and are caused by street gangs, illegal criminal immigrants who are released into the community rather than being deported to their country of origin, and just plain thugs and other criminal enterprises.
Let’s hope this initiative begun by the president and implemented by AG Sessions through capable federal prosecutors working with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement will bring the rule of law back to our communities.