White House convenes mayors to discuss strategies on crime

Jul 15, 2021, 3:51 PM | Updated: 5:43 pm
President Joe Biden meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Oval Office of the White Hous...

President Joe Biden meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, July 15, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Thursday convened the first meeting of its community violence intervention collaborative, a group of mayors and administration officials that will share best practices and work closely with the federal government to reduce gun violence.

The White House has touted its investments in these programs as one of the ways it is working to reduce gun violence and combat crime, as Republicans are increasingly looking to use a nationwide increase in violent crime as a political cudgel against Democrats ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

According to details shared first with The Associated Press, Thursday’s meeting was led by Susan Rice, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and Julie Rodriguez, director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. It included the mayors of 10 cities involved in the 15-city collaborative: Atlanta; Chicago; Baltimore; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Newark, New Jersey; Miami-Dade County, Florida; St. Paul, Minnesota; Washington, D.C.; and Austin, Texas.

The mayors will continue to meet biweekly throughout the summer, and monthly into the fall, to share best practices.

“We hope and expect that process will strengthen the programs in those 15 jurisdictions, but also give the experts at the table and the federal government more expertise regarding how to make these programs succeed, that we can then deploy in other communities, once we have additional federal dollars,” said Stef Feldman, the senior adviser to the director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Community violence intervention programs focus on both preventing violent crime by empowering local community leaders to engage with those deemed at risk of engaging in or becoming victim to gun violence, so they can connect them with health, economic and other social programs to try to reduce the likelihood of violence being used to resolve conflicts.

The administration has pointed to a report from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence that says such programs can reduce violence in communities by as much as 60%.

The idea of a collaboration among cities, administration officials, nonprofits and experts working on community violence intervention programs was part of the comprehensive strategy President Joe Biden unveiled in late June aimed at combating what he warned could be a “more pronounced” spike in summer crime as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have waned. Biden’s plan focuses on providing money to cities that need more police, offering community support and cracking down on gun violence and people supplying illegal firearms.

Still, much of the strategy amounted largely to recommendations to local jurisdictions on how to use federal funds. And it reflected in part an awareness that the federal government can only do so much to reduce gun crimes as stricter gun control measures have languished on Capitol Hill, where an evenly divided Congress makes them unlikely to pass.

Biden also highlighted the fact that $350 billion in state and local funding from the administration’s COVID-19 relief bill can be used to hire new police officers, invest in crime-fighting technology and equipment and boost community violence intervention programs.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has committed to spending $5 million of those funds on a community violence intervention program in her city, while Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has pledged to invest $25 million to $30 million in federal funding from the aid bill in community-based public safety strategies.

Bottoms, a longtime Biden ally, said in an AP interview that “there were a lot of emotions we were seeing playing out in our streets.” She said that the city was initially worried about a summer spike in crime — but that the federal investments have helped.

“We have a limited amount of resources, a limited amount of man and woman power,” she said. “When you are tackling something this big, it helps to have that technical assistance.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers her speech at the European Parliament d...
Associated Press

EU chief warns of danger of complete cut-off of Russian gas

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the 27-nation Europe Union needs to make emergency plans to prepare for a complete cut-off of Russian gas in the wake of the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine. The EU has already imposed sanctions on Russia, including on some energy supplies, and is […]
52 minutes ago
FILE - OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo speaks during the Atlantic Council's Global Energy ...
Associated Press

OPEC secretary-general is dead, Nigerian officials announce

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — The Secretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has died, Nigerian authorities announced Wednesday. Mohammad Barkindo, 63, died late Tuesday, a spokesperson for Nigeria’s petroleum ministry told The Associated Press. The reason for his death was not immediately known. Mele Kyari, Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, […]
52 minutes ago
This image released by Paramount+ shows, from left, Rebecca Romijn as Una, Ethan Peck as Spock, bac...
Associated Press

Star Trek’s ‘Strange New Worlds’: In defense of episodic TV

Two generations after its 1966 debut, the universe of “Star Trek” has become a vast and sprawling mural in these heady days of streaming TV. There’s the dark and bingeworthy “Star Trek: Picard,” a deep character study of an aging and beloved captain confronting his demons — and saving life as we know it twice […]
52 minutes ago
Associated Press

The next frontier for drones: letting them fly out of sight

REMINGTON, Va. (AP) — For years, there’s been a cardinal rule for flying civilian drones: Keep them within your line of sight. Not just because it’s a good idea — it’s also the law. But some drones have recently gotten permission to soar out of their pilots’ sight. They can now inspect high-voltage power lines […]
52 minutes ago
People wearing face masks walk past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index in ...
Associated Press

Asian benchmarks mostly lower after tepid Wall St session

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly lower Wednesday after tepid trading on Wall Street amid worries about a global recession. Major benchmarks fell across Asia. Oil prices recouped some lost ground. Analysts said markets were focusing on a variety of risks, including inflation, oil prices, moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central […]
1 day ago
A worker wearing a protective suit swabs a woman's throat for a COVID-19 test at a coronavirus test...
Associated Press

Shanghai, Beijing order new round of mass COVID-19 testing

BEIJING (AP) — Residents of parts of Shanghai and Beijing have been ordered to undergo further rounds of COVID-19 testing following the discovery of new cases in the two cities, while tight restrictions remain in place in Hong Kong, Macao and other Chinese cities. Shanghai has only just emerged from a strict lockdown that confined […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
White House convenes mayors to discuss strategies on crime