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Baltimore Police, Feds Launch 'Public Safety Partnership' To Reduce Violent Crime

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- More federal help is coming to Baltimore city to try to drive down violent crime.

It's not the first time federal law enforcement has stood shoulder to shoulder with city police, but promises were made from a department of justice official: violent crime in Baltimore will go down in the next few years.

"We want nothing more than to bring peace to our neighborhoods," U.S. State's Attorney Robert Hur said Tuesday.

Hur said his office monitors Baltimore city's crimes and tries to find strategies to curb the violence.

"We're always looking for new and creative ways to use data, target our resources and collaborate with local, state and federal agencies to arrest and prosecute those who are pulling triggers in Baltimore," Hur added.

Baltimore Police, federal agents and the U.S. State's Attorney's office launched a new public safety partnership to target and reduce violent gun-related crimes in the city.

John Adler, the Director of the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance, said his team will be available to support Commissioner Michael Harrison and the police department to drive down violent crimes in the city.

"It's a three-year strategic engagement," Adler said. "We're going to drive down violent crime and we're going to sustain that progress."

That promise is a goal: to curb crime in a city on pace for its 5th straight year of 300 plus murders.

Officials were short on specifics, but say the partnership is a three-year commitment with federal law enforcement with more training, technology, and access to experts.

"What we have today that we didn't have yesterday is the entire weight of the federal government and every expert who is an expert in a particular field at our disposal," Harrison said.

Data will help police identify repeat offenders and make sure they cannot hurt anyone else.

The commissioner's former city of New Orleans as well as other cities in our region -- Wilmington, Delaware, Newark and Camden, New Jersey -- have all been part of this program recently and have seen significant reductions in violent crime.

The commissioner said he community can expect to see a few things differently in the coming years.

"More community engagement and more of it from our federal partners, as well," Harrison said.

WJZ's Paul Gessler asked the commissioner about technology use and concerns about civil liberties.

He stressed that the justice department is both overseeing the implementation of the consent decree and assisting in this partnership.

Since this is a federal program, the city is not on the hook for any additional money from its policing budget.

New Orleans' homicides went down to 146 last year. That's the lowest number in four decades.

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