DOJ acknowledges ‘staggering’ rise in violent crime as it rolls out effort targeting gun trafficking

on Jun22
by | Comments Off on DOJ acknowledges ‘staggering’ rise in violent crime as it rolls out effort targeting gun trafficking |

The Justice Department is launching new strike force teams to target illegal gun trafficking in five cities as the Biden administration makes efforts to combat a “staggering” rise in violent crime that has plagued a number of cities across the nation. 

The effort will focus on reducing the flow of illegal firearms in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, D.C. – all locales where authorities have said many guns used in crimes originate elsewhere. 

“Working with our local partners to tackle violent crime is one of the Justice Department’s most important responsibilities,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “Today, the department is taking another concrete step to address violent crime and illegal firearms trafficking.”


The strike force teams will coordinate with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and share information with local and state law enforcement agencies where firearms originate and where they are used to commit crimes in an effort to bring down gun-dealing rings. 

The effort comes amid an uptick in gun violence and homicides in several large cities across the United States. The increase began during the coronavirus pandemic and protests against police misconduct and over racial justice. 


In New York, the city reported 634 shootings this year as of June 13, compared to 386 in the same time period last year. In Chicago, shootings were up from 1,224 on June 20 of last year to 1,402 as of Monday. In Los Angeles, 626 people were shot through June 12, compared to 397 in the same time frame last year.

“It is staggering. It is sobering,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Tuesday during a virtual town hall with The Police Executive Research Forum. “And it’s something that DOJ is committed to do all we can to reverse what are profoundly troubling trends and a really bad trajectory that we’re on.”

Officials in New York State have said many guns that end up being used in crimes there were purchased in the “Iron Pipeline”  – which refers to the I-95 corridor connecting New York City, which has strict gun laws, to Southern states that have more relaxed gun laws such as Georgia and Florida. In 2019, the state reported 550 guns used in crimes came from Georgia, 474 from Virginia, 420 from South Carolina., according to an ATF report. 


The top source for guns used in crimes in California in 2019 was Arizona with 2,355 firearms, the report said. That same year, authorities in Washington D.C., recovered 662 guns that originated from Virginia and 162 firearms from Maryland. Nearly 1,900 guns used in crimes in Illinois came from neighboring Indiana followed by 485 guns from Missouri, the report said. 

The Justice Department will release additional details about the initiative Wednesday. 

Fox News’ Jake Gibson contributed to this report.

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