SALT LAKE CITY, UT. – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday cited high-profile arrests and declining violent crime figures as evidence that a crackdown that includes seeking long sentences is working in Utah and across the country.
Speaking at the Utah State Capitol, Sessions said federal authorities are “targeting the most dangerous people in the most violent areas.”
About 600 people attended then speech, including many Utah police officers, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
A year ago, Sessions restarted a federal program aimed at combating violent crime.
Project Safe Neighborhoods was a George W. Bush-era strategy that faded during the Obama administration.
Through the initiative, federal prosecutors have worked with local law enforcement agencies to target offenders in cases involving guns, drugs and gangs.
U.S. attorney for Utah John Huber also credited Project Safe Neighborhoods with contributing to reductions in crime rates.
Reports of violent crime dipped by 8 percent in Utah during 2017 compared to the prior year, Huber said.
Saying the work is far from over, Sessions announced that the Department of Justice is awarding $30 million in Project Safe Neighborhoods grants to 86 districts across the nation with Utah expected to receive $262,000.