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Attorney General visits Milwaukee, pledges resources to fight crime

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The United States Attorney General is pledging to help Milwaukee and cities across the country tackle violent crime.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is adding 40 Assistant United States Attorneys to help prosecute violent criminals.

“We have 94 United States Attorneys’ offices; most of them are not getting any. You're getting two because we believe they will be used here,” Attorney General Sessions said.

Two additional AUSAs help prosecute violent crimes in Milwaukee. The announcement is drawing praise from Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn.

“We generate far more arrests than can be handled by the courts as it is,” Chief Flynn said. “But obviously having the federal venue for our more serious offenders, particularly gun offenders, is promising and we're grateful.”

The increase in staffing is part of the Attorney General’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program, which creates taskforces of federal, state and local law enforcement.

“It's a partnership,” the Attorney General said. “What you feel like is best locally, what the federal government can do to assist, and we work together effectively it will make a difference.”

The new efforts after spikes in violent crimes across the country in recent years.

“In Milwaukee, rape is up 21 percent in just two years,” Attorney General Sessions said. “Assault is up nine percent.  And murders are up an astonishing 57 percent.”

The Attorney General says a DOJ study shows a quarter of the national homicide rate increase is because of drug-related violence. Chief Flynn says that's only a piece of the puzzle in Milwaukee.

“To some extent that homicidal violence is driven by the drug trade, but it's also very much driven by conflicts and beefs between armed criminals that aren't involved in the drug trade,” Chief Flynn said.

The attorney general is asking Congress for additional funding in the next budget for Project Safe Neighborhoods, and he says there will be 260 more assistant US attorneys added across the country over the next several months.

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