SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it's sending special strike forces to five metropolitan areas, including San Francisco, to combat trafficking of illegal firearms.
The DOJ's plan is to launch "five cross-jurisdictional firearms trafficking strike forces within the next 30 days to help reduce violent crime by addressing illegal gun trafficking in significant firearms trafficking corridors," according to a press release. Besides the San Francisco Bay Area, DOJ strike forces are heading to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.
"Working with our local partners to tackle violent crime is one of the Justice Department's most important responsibilities," said Attorney General Merrick Garland in a press release. "Today, the department is taking another concrete step to address violent crime and illegal firearms trafficking. Our firearms trafficking strike forces will investigate and disrupt the networks that channel crime guns into our communities with tragic consequences."
The DOJ's strike forces are being deployed to tackle gun violence, which the department calls "a major driver in the increase in violent crime over the last 18 months." In San Francisco alone there have been 87 shootings as of May of this year, and there were just 35 at that point the year before. The most recent high for shootings was 2017, when there were a total of 67 shootings.
The strike forces will be led by U.S. Attorneys who will coordinate with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and with state and local authorities to find where firearms originate and where they are used to commit crimes.
"The strike forces will share information and otherwise collaborate across districts where firearms trafficking schemes cross state or jurisdictional boundaries to focus enforcement against entire trafficking networks, from the places where guns are unlawfully obtained to the areas where they are used to commit violent crimes," the DOJ announcement read.
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