U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday that he is appointing additional federal prosecutors in Connecticut and elsewhere as part of an effort to reduce violent crime.
Connecticut, where violent crime is on the increase in Hartford and Bridgeport, is authorized to hire one new assistant U.S. Attorney. He said 27 other federal judicial districts across the country will receive between one and three additional prosecutors and new violent crime task forces will be created in Charlotte and Pittsburgh.
"Under this program, I am asking a great deal of our United States Attorneys,” Sessions said. “I am both empowering them and holding them accountable for results. To put them in the best position to impact and reduce violent crime, it is my privilege to announce today that through a re-allocation of resources, we will be enlisting and deploying 40 additional violent crime prosecutors across the United States."
The U.S. Attorney’s office in New Haven will add one new position to the 63 assistant U.S. attorney positions it now has. Of those, 48 are currently assigned to criminal matters.
Federal law enforcement has been active in the fight against violent crime in Connecticut. In Hartford, local, state and federal task forces have been targeting violent drug gangs on the city’s north and south sides for years. The city’s violent crime rate dropped for years after spiking a decade ago, but now is creeping back up.
The FBI reports violent crime was up 4.1 percent across the country in 2016.
In his remarks Friday, Sessions said he will also press Congress to increase spending on the U.S. Justice Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program, a local-federal partnership designed to develop data-driven violence reduction strategies and improve the long-term prevention of gun violence.
An exception to the the general increase in violent crime appears to be New Haven, which, among the three big Connecticut cities, has fully embraced a federal partnership.
Connecticut U.S..Attorney John H. Durham said Friday that the addition of a federal prosecutor in the state recognizes a “troubling rise” in violent crime, as well as the participation of federal authorities in state and local anti-crime efforts, particularly in New Haven.
“Through excellent federal, state and local cooperation, New Haven has experienced a 75 percent reduction in its murder rate since 2011,” Durham said. “We welcome these additional federal resources, which we will use to make all of our cities safer.”