U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a stop in Charlotte Tuesday. He announced the formation of two new task forces to fight violent crime. But details on these new efforts were scant.
Attorney General Sessions began the heart of his speech by crediting those seated before him for bringing the rate of violent crime in American to a relatively low level. "It's largely because of dedicated law enforcement officials like you that crime has declined significantly in 20 years."
But the number of violent crimes, Sessions noted, has been trending up over the past two years. Both across the nation and here in Charlotte.
"Sadly, this beautiful city has not been immune to the problems either." He then listed a series of statistics. "Robbery is up by a third. Assault is up by 29 percent. Murders are up a staggering 36 percent."
In fact there have already been at least 85 murders in Charlotte in 2017, compared to 69 in all of last year.
It's easy to see these as just statistics. But Sessions tried to remind the crowd each number represents a person. "They are moms and dads and daughters and spouses, friends and neighbors. Empty places at Christmas dinner. Holes in the hearts and souls of victims that will never close."
Now is the time, Sessions said, to act. To flood resources to the areas where the crimes are taking place. The Attorney General then stated he wants to make every neighborhood safe. "We will not cede a community, a block or a street corner to violent thugs or drug dealers."
But when it comes to how this will be done, Sessions was vague.
He announced two new joint task forces, teams where federal, local and state law enforcement officials work together to bring down the rate of violent crime. One based here in Charlotte, the other in Western Pennsylvania.
As Sessions pointed out, Charlotte already has a joint task force dealing with gangs. "So this new violent crime task force will concentrate on other violent activities," he stated, "Like bank robberies, carjackings, kidnappings, extortion."
No mention was made about homicides.
These task forces are a way to coordinate local and federal efforts to make sure, Sessions explained, law enforcement is not duplicating efforts. But that was about it in terms of details.
This event was billed as a speech. The press was told there would be no time for questions.
CMPD referred questions as to when the task force would begin, who would take part and just what they would do to the US Attorney's office. They did not respond in time for this report.