Baltimore will be one of 15 cities targeted this summer for violent crime prevention, an initiative that will give the city two additional federal agents, law enforcement officials announced yesterday.
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a news release that the program's goal is to have an "immediate impact on these communities by targeting repeat offenders."
Officials in Baltimore said at a news conference yesterday that the substantial change will be an increase in cooperation between federal and local officials, and a greater focus on active crime-fighting.
About 25 law enforcement agents - all but two of whom are in Baltimore - will be directed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to gather intelligence and share what they learn.
The team, composed largely of ATF agents, will also include one person from the U.S. Marshal's Office in Baltimore, four Baltimore police detectives and other federal and state prosecutors and law enforcement agents, said Joseph M. Riehl, assistant special agent in charge of the Baltimore ATF office.
The two new ATF agents will join 56 stationed in the Baltimore office, which oversees Maryland and Delaware operations.
The new initiative was billed as a summer program but will last at least six months, said Special Agent Kelly Long, the local ATF spokeswoman, and more resources and agents might be added.
Baltimore is one of the nation's most violent cities, with 271 homicides last year. New York, which has 12 times the population, had 596.