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Kohl Presses FBI Director to Address Increase in Milwaukee Violetn Crime

Location: Washington, DC

Director Mueller commits Department of Justice team to investigate Milwaukee's situation

At a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee today, U.S. Senator Herb Kohl told the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Robert Mueller that more federal involvement is needed in the efforts to stem the alarming increase in violent crime in Milwaukee. Mueller said that he has formed Department of Justice (DoJ) teams to focus on the violent crime uptick across the country and will assign one to look specifically at Milwaukee. Director Mueller testified before the Judiciary Committee during their hearing on DoJ oversight.

Kohl noted at the hearing that violent crime in Milwaukee rose 32 percent in 2005. Robberies were up 36 percent. Aggravated assaults were up nearly 32 percent. And most concerning of all, homicides increased 40 percent.

"Part of the problem is that we are not giving our states and localities the help they need," Kohl told Mueller. "Year after year, we see a concerted effort by this Administration to end the COPS program and gut funding for juvenile justice and prevention programs. Virtually everyone in the law enforcement community will agree that this has been a major contributing factor to the rise in violent crime."

For example, Kohl said the Milwaukee Police received $1 million from the COPS program in 2002, but last year received no funding at all. As a result, between 2002 and 2005, the Milwaukee Police Department's forces were reduced by 55 police officers, leaving it with nearly 200 vacancies in a force of 2,000. Years of decreases in funding have led to fewer cops on the beat and increases in violent crime.

Mueller insisted that the FBI has not allocated resources away from violent crime in their focus on the threat of terrorism, and that he strongly supports funding for federal-state-local task forces.

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