Jeff Sessions touts downward crime trends with Utah law enforcement

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions swears in new law enforcement officers at the Utah State Capitol, Tuesday Oct. 2, 2018. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 3, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered high-praise for Utah law enforcement officers, saying they’re turning the tide on violent crime in the Beehive State, thanks to increased cooperation with the federal government.

Sessions made the case for Utah’s crime fighting success during a speech at the State House Wednesday morning.

Flanked by the likes of Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, the embattled A.G. thanked the officers in the rotunda for their service, on behalf of his chief critic, commander-in-chief, Donald Trump.

“Make no mistake about it: Donald Trump is a law and order president,” Sessions said. “He took office with a mission, a mandate from the American people to restore public safety.”

Part of that mission was to crack down on violent crime, according to Sessions, who claimed violent crime rates were “rising significantly” when he was sworn in as attorney general.

“From day one I plainly stated our goals were to reduce crime, reduce homicides, reduce opioid prescriptions, and reduce overdose deaths,” Sessions said. “I am proud to say that there are signs we are already achieving those goals.”

According to Sessions, newly released stats from the FBI show a reverse in violent crime trends for 2017, with the murder rate in America’s 29 largest cities declining by 7.6 percent.

Sessions also claimed that despite an overall increase in opioid overdose deaths, the trend for the last quarter of 2017 showed a slowing of the overall death rate.

The key to the downturns in both violent crime and opioid deaths was due to re-launch of the Project Safe Neighborhoods campaign, Sessions said. The program, originally devised in 2001, fostered greater cooperation between local law enforcement and the federal government.

“PSN quickly proved to be a success,” Sessions said. ” One study showed that, in its first five years, PSN reduced violent crime by 4.1 percent, with case studies in certain areas showing reductions in certain areas of more than 40 percent.

“There are American’s who are alive and well today because this program made a difference,” Session said.

While Sessions embraced the reported downturn in violent crime, he claimed the PSN program was not a Washington-centered program. “In fact, it’s just the opposite,” Sessions said. “PSN simply provides a flexible framework that can be adapted to the situation on the ground in local communities like Salt Lake City and across the country.”

To hear more of Mr. Sessions’ speech, click on the video player below.



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