ANNISTON, Ala. (WIAT) — Ten sites with “sustained levels of violence far exceeding the national average“ around the country have been added to the Department of Justice’s National Public Safety Partnership. Two of those sites are in Calhoun County: Anniston and Oxford.
In a statement released by Jay Town, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, U.S. Attorney General William Barr is quoted as saying that sites added to the list will receive resources for fighting crime:
“The Public Safety Partnership is a successful program that directs federal law enforcement resources to the cities where they can have the greatest impact,” Attorney General Barr said. “These resources help police departments to diagnose where crime is highest—and why—and to find, arrest and prosecute criminals.”
Below is a list of the 10 sites added to the National Public Safety Partnership:
- Anniston, Ala.
- Oxford, Ala.
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Davenport, Iowa
- Wichita, Kan.
- Baton Rouge, La.
- Baltimore, Md.
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Amarillo, Texas
- Harris County, Texas
Tony Williams has lived in Anniston for 20 years and tells CBS 42 that once upon a time, the city he calls home used to be very different.
“There was less crime here and everybody stuck together and stuff like that,” said Williams. “Crime is high here everyone knows that.”
Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade acknowledges that crime is a problem in the community. Often times, it starts with drugs
“Illegal substances drive a lot of this [crime],” said Wade. “Violent crime is always something we’re trying to combat.”
And now, with this new partnership, help may be on the way. Town says that the goal of the National Public Safety Partnership initiative is to get as many violent criminals off the street as possible.
“[The National Public Safety Partnership initiative] provides a framework for enhancing federal support of state, local and tribal law enforcement officials and prosecutors as they aggressively investigate and pursue violent criminals, specifically those involved in gun crime, drug trafficking, and gang violence,“ said Town.
“There are some real challenges with criminal elements and crime in that area so let’s get it out of here,” Town said to CBS 42 in a phone interview. “Let’s get it out of the Northern District, let’s get it out of Alabama”
Sheriff Wade tells CBS 42 that in the past few months, crime has been declining in Calhoun County. Between a new crime center opening in Oxford last month and this announcement, he believes his office will be able to fight crime like never before.
“It’s going to be tremendous. We’ve already been working together and have been building up to this. But, it’s a philosophy,“ said Wade. “And when you have people willing to work together and willing to do the things to make that change, you’ll see it.“
Residents like Williams are optimistic about the move and hopeful that crime is on the way out.
“I’m hoping so, yes,“ said Williams. “For the generation behind me. I hope the crime goes down.“
Below is the full statement released by Town’s office:
U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town Announces Support to Anniston and Oxford, Alabama as Part of The National Public Safety Partnership to Combat Violent Crime
As the Department of Justice continues its efforts to fulfill President Donald J. Trump’s commitment to reducing violent crime in America, Attorney General William P. Barr today announced that the Northern District of Alabama was selected to join the National Public Safety Partnership (PSP) initiative. PSP provides a framework for enhancing federal support of state, local and tribal law enforcement officials and prosecutors as they aggressively investigate and pursue violent criminals, specifically those involved in gun crime, drug trafficking and gang violence.
“The Public Safety Partnership is a successful program that directs federal law enforcement resources to the cities where they can have the greatest impact,“ Attorney General Barr said. “These resources help police departments to diagnose where crime is highest—and why—and to find, arrest and prosecute criminals. Several participating cities have already seen dramatic reductions in violent crime over the past two years. As we expand this program to 10 more cities across America, we are determined to replicate that success.”
“The Public Safety Partnership provides data-driven resources to assist law enforcement in removing the habitual offenders from the southeast side of the Northern District,” Town said. “Our collective goal is simply to reduce crime, especially violent crime, in Anniston, Oxford, and surrounding areas. My office, local and federal law enforcement, and the Department of Justice are fully committed to facilitating the strategies, training, and technical assistance to do just that. We have prison beds already reserved for the alpha criminals in Calhoun County…and we are coming.”
The Justice Department created PSP and the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety in response to President Trump’s February 9, 2017, Executive Order charging the agency with leading a national effort to combat violent crime. In June 2017, the Department of Justice announced the formation of the National Public Safety Partnership initiative.
To be considered for selection, a site must have sustained levels of violence that far exceed the national average and demonstrate a commitment to reducing crime. Cities must also display compliance with federal immigration requirements.
The 10 sites announced today are as follows:
· Anniston, Alabama
· Oxford, Alabama
· Anchorage, Alaska
· Davenport, Iowa
· Wichita, Kansas
· Baton Rouge, Louisiana
· Baltimore, Maryland
· Cleveland, Ohio
· Amarillo, Texas
· Harris County, Texas
More than 30 cities have participated in PSP. The primary participating Justice Department components include the Office of Justice Programs, Office on Violence Against Women, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Marshals Service.
More information about PSP can be found at: http://www.nationalpublicsafetypartnership.org.