President Biden: EBR one of 15 jurisdictions to receive funding for anti-violence programs
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul was one of seven public officials invited to the White House Wednesday to confer with President Joe Biden prior to Biden's unveiling of a new, national crime-fighting initiative.
According to a report from BBC News, Mr. Biden's plan relies heavily on the notion that the recent rise in violence is a direct result of lax gun control.
The President told reporters that his strategy would allow officials in high crime areas to use coronavirus relief funding to hire more law enforcement personnel and take steps to hinder rogue gun dealers and firearms trafficking on a local level.
The plan would have a direct effect on East Baton Rouge Parish (EBR), an area that's seen a severe rise in crime during the pandemic.
According to the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office, as of June 2021, EBR has experienced a disturbing total of 80 homicides. This reflects a significant jump in the number of deadly incidents that occurred in the parish since last year. In June of 2020, the Coroner's Office reported a total of 56 homicides.
While detailing his five-point strategy at the White House on Wednesday, the president encouraged cities and states to use $350bn in COVID-19 relief funding for local public safety efforts. These efforts would include adding more police officers, even beyond pre-pandemic levels.
"It means more police officers, more nurses, more counselors, more social workers or community violence interrupters to help resolve issues before they escalate into crimes," the president said.
Both the Associated Press and The Advocate note that President Biden remarked on Chief Paul's partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to pinpoint and apprehend criminal organizations in EBR.
The Biden administration has selected EBR as one of 15 jurisdictions to receive funding for anti-violence programs.
The President's strategy includes a boost in funding for the police in addition to investing in community violence intervention programs, employment opportunities, and summer activities for teenagers and young adults, and support for formerly incarcerated citizens as they re-enter their communities.
At the conclusion of his speech, Biden told Chief Paul and the six other public officials that the White House would arrange a follow-up meeting to continue the conversation about gun violence.
The FBI will release official crime statistics in September and officials expect the numbers to reflect one of the largest homicide increases ever reported.
During Wednesday's meeting, President Biden repeatedly tied the nation's shocking rise in crime to lax gun regulations, mentioning that he believes a lack of proper regulations has contributed to an environment that allows even minor arguments to escalate into deadly encounters.
On this note, the BBC reports that U.S. gun sales increased during 2020, as did reports of domestic violence and evidence that Americans carried firearms more frequently that year.
According to the BBC, in 2019, 74% of homicides across the U.S. were gun-related.
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