Office of Public Affairs
May 26, 2021
WASHINGTON—Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today announced a new Department of Justice effort to help protect our communities from the recent increase in major violent crimes.
“Today, we renew our commitment to reducing violent crime and building strong communities where all Americans are safe,” said Attorney General Garland. “The Deputy Attorney General is issuing a comprehensive strategy to deploy our federal resources in the most effective way, disrupting the most dangerous threats and supporting the ground-level efforts of local law enforcement. In this endeavor, we will engage our communities as critical partners. And through our grantmaking, we will support programming at all stages—from the earliest violence interruption strategies to post-conviction reentry services.”
The strategy announced today is three-pronged. First, it establishes a set of four fundamental principles to be applied Department-wide to guide violent crime reduction:
- Build trust and earn legitimacy. Meaningful law enforcement engagement with, and accountability to, the community are essential underpinnings of any effective strategy to address violent crime, as well as important ends in themselves. Accordingly, building trust and earning legitimacy within our communities is the foundation on which the strategy is built.
- Invest in prevention and intervention programs. Violent crime is not a problem that can be solved by law enforcement alone. Accordingly, the Department must invest in community-based violence prevention and intervention programs that work to keep violence from happening before it occurs.
- Target enforcement efforts and priorities. The Department is most effective when it focuses its limited enforcement resources on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting the most significant drivers of gun violence and other violent crime.
- Measure results. Because the fundamental goal of this work is to reduce the level of violence in our communities, not to increase the number of arrests or prosecutions as if they were ends in themselves—we must measure the results of our efforts on these grounds.