Biden is expected to call on Congress to provide more funding to law enforcement, a senior administration official told Fox News, by spending on crime prevention and more community police officers “to walk the streets, get to know neighbors and restore trust and safety.
Biden is set to push Congress to approve his budget request of $200 million for community violence interventions, and $300 million to more than double the size of the Justice Department’s COPS community policing hiring grant program.
“He’ll make clear that the answer is not to defund the police, it’s to put more police – with better training and more accountability – out to take back our streets and make our neighborhoods safer,” the official told Fox News.
The official also told Fox News that Biden, Tuesday night, will use his address to “reiterate his call” for Congress to pass “commonsense gun violence legislation that will save lives.”
Violent crime has spiked across the nation, after some cities reduced funding for their police departments in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests against the murder of George Floyd in 2020 in Minneapolis. The surge has continued in 2022.
New York City, for example, reported a 38.5% surge in January, according to data released by the New York Police Department The surge was driven by a 91.5% increase in thefts of vehicles, a 58.1% increase in grand larceny, a 33.1% increase in robberies, a 26.7% increase in rapes, a 12.3% increase in felony assaults, and a 7.5% increase in burglaries. The only major crime category that fell in the first month of 2022 compared to 2021 was murder, which decreased by 15.2%. Shootings, however, went up 31.6%.
Austin, Texas, saw 11 homicides in January, putting it on track, if the trend continues, to shatter its homicide record for the second straight year following the city council’s move to defund the police.
Sixty-seven police officers have been shot this year, and nine officers have been killed by gunfire, the National Fraternal Order of Police said. Twenty-four officers have been shot in 13 ambush attacks in the line of duty, the group said.
“Criminals don’t care about shooting police officers, as they no longer fear the consequences for their actions because there often aren’t any,” FOP said.
Biden will also talk about what he has done during his first year in office to fight crime, the senior administration official said, including executing his “five-part comprehensive strategy” to make communities across the country safer and to reduce gun crime.
Last month, the Biden administration rolled out a strategy to stop the flow of guns, bolster law enforcement and increase funding for community policing.
Senior administration officials said the strategy builds on steps the president announced in June 2021 that were intended to stem the flow of firearms used to commit violence; support local law enforcement with federal tools and resources to address violent crime; invest in evidence-based community violence interventions; expand summer programming, employment opportunities and other services and support for teenagers and young adults; and provide help for formerly incarcerated individuals to “successfully reenter their communities.”
As part of the strategy, the Justice Department announced a new directive to every U.S. Attorney’s Office nationwide to “increase resources dedicated to district-specific violent crime strategies.”
The Justice Department is also working to “crack down on the ‘Iron Pipeline,’” a reference to the illegal flow of guns sold in the south and transported up the East Coast and found at crime scenes in cities from Baltimore to New York City.
The DOJ also, last month, launched a “National Ghost Gun Enforcement Initiative,” which officials say will “train a national cadre of prosecutors and disseminate investigation and prosecution tools to help bring cases against those who use ghost guns to commit crimes.”
The Biden administration last year first took aim at “ghost guns” and modified firearms, which are homemade firearms without serial numbers that make it difficult for law enforcement to determine where, by whom, or when they were manufactured and to whom they were sold.
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