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Press Release

Justice Department Announces Surge of Resources to Fight Violent Crime in Washington, D.C.

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today that it will surge additional law enforcement tools and resources to target those most responsible for violent crime and carjackings in Washington, D.C.

“Last year, we saw an encouraging decline in violent crime in many parts of the country, but there is much more work to do — including here in the District of Columbia,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “This surge in law enforcement resources will build on the Department’s efforts to target the individuals and organizations that are driving violent crime in the nation’s capital. The Justice Department will not rest until every community in our country is safe from the scourge of violent crime.”

“We have been surgically targeting and prosecuting those driving violence within our community,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia. “The surge of resources to these efforts will allow us to continue to expand on these efforts and to take even more drivers of violence off our streets.”

The additional resources include a multi-component Gun Violence Analytic Cell (GVAC), which is led by the FBI with partners from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Using data analytics, GVAC will identify additional federal investigations that should be opened to combat violent crime and carjackings.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has already charged hundreds of such cases in recent years, including a case announced this week against five alleged fentanyl traffickers, three of whom were charged with firearms violations in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. The case was a result of a year-long multiagency investigation into narcotics distribution points in the Washington Highlands neighborhood of Southeast Washington, D.C.

To increase the capacity to prosecute the additional investigations generated from GVAC and other efforts, the initiative will also detail federal prosecutors from the Justice Department’s Criminal Division to work violent crime cases in D.C., and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is moving additional prosecutors within the Superior Court docket to focus on carjacking and both lethal and non-lethal firearms cases.

This announcement builds on similar prosecutorial and investigative resource surges throughout the country as part of the Department’s strategy to combat violent crime in targeted communities. In November 2023, the Justice Department announced a significant increase in prosecutorial resources in Memphis, Tennessee, and in September 2022, the Justice Department similarly announced additional prosecutors detailed to fight target gangs in Houston.

These efforts are all part of a Department-wide Violent Crime Reduction Strategy announced by Attorney General Garland in May 2021, aimed at addressing the spike in violent crime during the pandemic. Since then, every U.S. Attorney’s Office across the country has worked alongside its federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to implement district-specific violent crime reduction strategies. In addition, the Department has also focused on strengthening its national Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative, as well as the National Public Safety Partnership, which makes Department tools and expertise available to more than 50 specific local law enforcement agencies.

All of these efforts are emblematic of the Department’s recognition that the best anti-violent crime strategies are tailored to the needs of, and are developed with, individual communities.

Updated January 29, 2024

Topic
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-93