With newly released FBI data showing that violent crime decreased in the first half of 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised President Donald Trump for keeping his campaign promise to crack down on violent lawbreaking.
In an op-ed for USA Today published Tuesday, the attorney general gave Trump credit for helping to reverse troubling trends regarding violent crime in America.
Sessions noted that in 2015 and 2016, the U.S. “experienced the largest increases in violent crime we had seen” in roughly 25 years, with the frequency of crimes like robbery, assault, rape and murder all seeing significant jumps.
“Trump ran for office on a message of law and order, and he won,” Sessions wrote. “When he took office, he ordered the Department of Justice to stop and reverse these trends — and that is what we have been doing every day for the past year.”
Thanks to “trust” placed in them by the Trump administration, Sessions suggested that prosecutors can once again do their jobs effectively.
Moreover, the administration is “restoring respect for law enforcement” and implementing “smarter policies based on sound research,” he wrote.
“Ensuring every neighborhood in America is safe again will take time, but we are already starting to see results,” Sessions added.
The attorney general went on to take note of some of these results, including a decrease in violent crime, as well as the fact that “the increase in the murder rate slowed.”
FBI data released Tuesday does indeed show that over the first six months of 2017, the violent crime rate went down 0.8 percentage points when compared to the same time period in 2016. Moreover, the number of rapes decreased by 2.4 percent, robberies were down 2.2 percent, and property crime saw a 2.9 percent drop.
“For the first time in the past few years, the American people can have hope for a safer future,” Sessions wrote.
The Department of Justice’s strategy to lower crime, the attorney general said, “has proven to work.”
In his op-ed, Sessions detailed some of the specific ways law enforcement officials have dealt with crime.
“In 2017, we brought cases against more violent criminals than in any year in decades,” he wrote.
Sessions also touted the convictions of nearly 500 human traffickers and 1,200 gang members, as well as the administration’s work to arrest and charge those who are suspected of “contributing to the ongoing opioid crisis.”
“Morale is up among our law enforcement community,” the attorney general wrote. “Any loss of life is one too many, but it is encouraging that the number of officers killed in the line of duty declined for the first time since 2013, reaching its second lowest level in more than half a century.”
Sessions concluded by acknowledging that “our work is not done,” especially as “crime is still far too high — especially in the most vulnerable neighborhoods.”
But still, he said, the “first year of the Trump era shows once again that the difficult work we do alongside our state, local and tribal law enforcement partners makes a difference.”
“Crime rates are not like the tides — we can help change them. And under Trump’s strong leadership, we will.”
As a candidate, Trump made bringing law and order back to this country one of his main campaign promises.
“I have a message for all of you,” he said in July 2016 during his speech accepting the Republican nomination for president. “The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20, 2017, safety will be restored.”
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