United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be in Kansas City today to hear testimony from local law enforcement on escalating crime. The goal is reducing violent crime in the metro which is reaching critical levels. He will speak at 12:55 p.m. at the Charles Evans Whittaker Courthouse located at 400 E. Ninth Street. No other details were immediately available.
Sessions has been appeared in numerous cities on a speaking tour during the past several weeks. Since last Wednesday he’s given speeches in Washington on the anniversary of September 11, one at the National Narcotic Officers Association, another at the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and one at a courthouse dedication in his home state of Alabama.
Kansas City experienced a particularly violent summer, with what seemed like an never-ending five days where 24 people were shot. Five of those individuals died.
A year ago, Sessions announced the re-launch of Project Safe Neighborhoods which pairs up federal agents and assistant U.S. Attorneys with local police departments and prosecutors to investigate violent crime and bring federal charges against suspects.
Speaking to police officers and prosecutors in Indianapolis Sessions elaborated on the efforts of the Trump administration to assist big cities in reducing crime.
“Project Safe Neighborhoods is built on experience. We have reports that prove it reduced crime in its previous iteration and we’re confident it will do so again,” said Sessions. “Public data from 88 large cities that we have just gotten in…suggests that violent crime went down in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the first quarter of 2017, violent crime went down 6.8 percent and murder was going down in 2018 by 5.5 percent.”
Cities across the country are followig the lead of the Trump administration by adding officers and increasing community outreach.
“Our priorities are drug dealers with guns, felons with guns, people that commit robberies with guns, firearms are the focus,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Josh Minkler who has added five additional assistant U.S. Attorneys under Project Safe Neighborhoods. “I’m very confident by the end of this year we will see a reduced amount of gun violence. I’m very confident that in 2019 it’ll go down more. We’ll hit that tipping point. The word will get out, crime will be deterred, gun violence will go down and the number of gun homicides will go down in Marion County.
“The word is getting out in the neighborhoods, we listen to the jail calls, and the jails calls, they are talking about the feds are in the neighborhoods. ‘Don’t pick up a gun because if the feds come and get you, it’s serious time.’”
Kansas City has seen an explosion of crime since 2014. Homicides in 2017 totaled 149, up from 82 in 2014.
2018 is on track to surpass the 2017 numbers.