U.S. cities could share $200 million in federal money next year in a new effort to combat violent crime, reports the Associated Press. The money, largely targeting gang and gun violence, aims to keep crime on a predicted downswing after two years of increases. It is part of the Bush administration’s request for funding for the upcoming fiscal 2009 budget blueprint. Attorney General Michael Mukasey was to announce the additional dollars in a speech Thursday to an annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
“This initiative will help communities address their specific violent crime challenges, especially where multiple jurisdictions are involved,” Mukasey said in prepared remarks given to the Associated Press. “We’ll be able to send targeted resources where they are needed the most and where they show the most promise.” The new money would be sent to cities and states that pledge to share it with neighboring localities to combat crimes spreading across regions. FBI data shows crime dipped slightly for the first half of 2007, but violent crime appears to be rising, if slightly, in small cities and rural areas.