Attorney General Jeff Sessions told all federal prosecutors yesterday to “use every tool we have” to investigate and prosecute violent offenders as part of an effort to crack down on recent increases in serious crime, reports the Washington Post. In a memo to the Justice Department’s 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices, Sessions told prosecutors to work closely with federal, state, local and tribal authorities to target the most violent offenders in each district. “Turning back our nation’s recent rise in violent crime is a top priority for the Department of Justice and it requires decisive action from our federal prosecutors,” Sessions said.
The memo follows a speech he gave to state attorneys general in which he said that historically low crime rates might be coming to an end and that recent crime increases could foreshadow a violent new period in the nation’s history. “Unfortunately, the most recent crime data available shows a 10.8 percent increase in the number of murders in this country, while federal prosecutions for violent crimes have been declining,” Sessions said in his memo. Sessions encouraged prosecutors to use laws regarding firearms, robbery, carjacking and drug offenses as tools to bring investigations and prosecutions against suspected criminals. In his memo, Sessions said that prosecutions under the federal Controlled Substances Act “can drive violent crime down.”