(CHICAGO) — Following a spike in gun violence in the Windy City, the Department of Justice will send seven additional agents to Chicago in an effort to curb crime, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday.
Representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will join 45 agents currently in the city.
“The Department of Justice will continue to do everything in its power to help the city of Chicago combat gun violence,” Holder said. “These new agents are a sign of the federal government’s ongoing commitment to helping local leaders ensure Chicago’s streets are safe.”
The decision comes after the Attorney General’s recent visit, where he attended a roundtable discussion with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to address youth crime rates.
The addition of agents is the latest step from law enforcement to beef up the fight against illegal gun trafficking, preceded by the opening of Chicago’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center and joint efforts from Illinois State Police and ATF. Gun crime is the primary root of area homicides, according to officials, with 60 percent of weapons recovered in violent crimes originally sold in other states and trafficked in the city.
Currently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has 120 agents in the Chicago, with 20 focusing on gang violence.
“ATF’s commitment to targeting traffickers and trigger pullers in Chicago is bolstered by these additional resources,” said ATF Director B. Todd Jones. “These resources, combined with ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center, will strengthen and build on our outstanding partnership with the Chicago Police Department and other local, state and regional law enforcement to bring safety and justice back to the community.”
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