WASHINGTON – In a speech before the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey today announced the President is seeking $200 million in funding for a new Violent Crime Reduction Partnership Initiative for Fiscal Year 2009. The funding is part of the Department’s strategy to support state and local law enforcement efforts in communities that are experiencing increases in violent crime and to keep crime down in others.

“This initiative will help communities address their specific violent crime challenges, especially where multiple jurisdictions are involved,” Attorney General Mukasey said. “We’ll be able to send targeted resources where they are needed the most and where they show the most promise. Through close coordination, we also can avoid needless duplication and free up resources to help more cities.”

The Violent Crime Reduction Partnership Initiative will support multi-agency task forces to allow law enforcement to focus efforts on serious multi-jurisdictional violent crime issues. This initiative will complement existing federal criminal justice programs – such as Project Safe Neighborhoods – by targeting assistance to communities to address violent crime and gangs through competitive discretionary grants. The grants will allow jurisdictions to enhance intelligence-led, data-driven, multi-jurisdictional responses to violent crime and gangs.

Also in his speech today, Attorney General Mukasey discussed the results of a number of recent efforts the Department has taken to combat violent crime. Last summer, the Department coordinated another round of Operation FALCON, a massive fugitive dragnet in 27 cities across the country that led to the arrest of more than 6,400 fugitives. The Department supported Fugitive Safe Surrender operations in four cities last year, during which a total of 3,700 fugitives turned themselves in at churches or other neutral settings. The Department also expanded its Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative. Under this program, 10 localities experiencing a significant gang problem were each given $2.5 million to bring together three essential strategies: prevention, prosecution, and prisoner re-entry.

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