WASHINGTON – The Justice Department is launching an effort in five cities across the United States to reduce spikes in gun violence by tackling illegal trafficking and prosecuting offenses that help put guns into the hands of criminals.
Attorney General Merrick Garland to launch attack forces against gun trafficking in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC The effort will include increased enforcement in so-called supply areas – cities and states where it is easier to obtain guns which are then trafficked into other cities with more restrictive gun laws.
In addition to prioritizing gun crimes, strike forces will embrace intelligence sharing and prosecution between jurisdictions, Justice Department officials said. Authorities have also integrated federal agents into homicide units in police departments across the United States, deployed additional crime analysts, and conduct fugitive searches to arrest people with state warrants. and federal for violent crimes.
Violent crime, especially homicides and shootings, is on the rise in many cities across the country, and the Biden administration has sought to help communities crippled by violence. But the initiative launched this week differs from other recent federal efforts to tackle violence, as it does not send officers or prosecutors to cities where crime is on the rise. Justice officials say the strike forces are a targeted prosecution that is supposed to be a longer-term effort to tackle gun trafficking.
There is no federal gun trafficking law, so federal agents often have to rely on other laws, such as lying on a gun purchase form, to prosecute. gun trafficking business or arresting straw buyers, people who buy guns legally and then supply them to others who can’t legally get them.
Officials hope the new plan will mean that federal prosecutors in some of the supply towns will be more likely to lay charges in these cases.
But if the effort sounds familiar to you, it is. In 2017, Chicago police, federal agents, and prosecutors launched a similar initiative – the Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force – in an attempt to stem the flow of illegal guns into the city and curb the rampant violence of the fire arms.
The Justice Department said the strike force was formed in response to an increase in gun violence and that its work continues, but has focused locally in Chicago on reducing the violence and not on the trafficking of firearms from other jurisdictions that put the guns in the hands of criminals. This has also been the case with similar weapons task forces, including in New York.
“These previous approaches have generally increased resources in specific areas, without a lasting focus on cross-jurisdictional trafficking,” the department said. “We are now formalizing and standardizing coordination between neighborhoods. This strategy is focused on trafficking – keeping guns out of the reach of those who pull the trigger. “
Police statistics released earlier this month showed fewer murders were reported in the first six months of 2021 in Chicago compared to the same time last year, but the number of shootings and people slaughter increased.
While crime increases in many American cities, violent crime remains lower overall than it was a decade or even five years ago.
Experts say this year’s spike in crime defies easy explanation and highlights a number of potential causes, including the coronavirus pandemic, concerns about the economy and large gatherings after months of stay orders at residence.