Barr visits Detroit to announce new federal violent crime initiative

Attorney General Bill Barr has been making headlines in recent days for comments he issued on the subject of FBI misconduct during the Trump–Russia probe.

However, malfeasance in Washington is not the only thing on which he is focused. Barr traveled to Detroit on Wednesday to unveil “Operation Relentless Pursuit,” a new crime-fighting initiative in seven major American cities, according to the Detroit News.

“Fighting violent crime is one of the primary priorities of this administration,” the attorney general announced. “In a number of cities, it’s a stubborn problem.”

Barr promised that $71 million in federal crime-fighting assistance funds will be channeled into the initiative and said more agents will be assigned to work with local law enforcement to address the ongoing crisis in the target cities.

“We must do better”

Also present at the event was FBI Director Christopher Wray, who said that the FBI would make a special effort to target the leadership of Detroit’s criminal gangs, pledging to “take the worst offenders off the streets.”

“Those of us in law enforcement cannot rest while any Americans live in fear in their own homes and their own neighborhoods,” he stated.

Another official in attendance was Donald Washington, director of the U.S. Marshals Service. Washington spoke of the need to track down dangerous fugitives. “In our nation, people should not feel safe, they should actually be safe in their pursuit of life’s endeavors,” he noted.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig stood on the podium as well, and he promised that authorities in the city would not rest on their laurels, pledging, “I’m not going to sit here and wave a flag of success,” Craig told reporters. “We must do better, and we will do better.”

Building on “consistent progress”

Detroit has seen violent crime fall in recent years, something that Barr characterized as “consistent progress.” Nevertheless, he stressed that rates there are “still higher than the national average.”

The new program is designed to build upon the existing DOJ Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative which, according to its website, is aimed at identifying “offenders that are driving violent crime rates” as well as “supporting locally based prevention and reentry efforts.”

Other facets of Operation Relentless Pursuit will include work in support of Project Guardian and the DEEP Program, both of which are Justice Department endeavors aimed at preventing and reducing gun violence.

In addition to Detroit, Barr announced that similar efforts are being launched in Memphis, Baltimore, Kansas City, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Albuquerque.

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