(CNSNews.com) - In the two years since President Donald Trump took office, murders in the largest U.S. cities dropped by six percent, the president announced Wednesday.
In a speech at the Major County Sheriffs and Cities Chiefs Association Joint Conference, Trump credited the Project Safe Neighborhoods program with the drop in homicides during his administration.
“When I took office two years ago, one of my highest priorities was to reduce violent crime. In the two years before my inauguration, violent crime increased by eight percent nationwide, and murders were up more than 20 percent,” he said.
“The cornerstone of our strategy is revitalizing one of the most effective crime reduction initiatives in history - Project Safe Neighborhoods. This program brings together law enforcement, community groups and local leaders to get the most violent offenders in the most dangerous areas off our streets and put them behind bars as quickly and easily as possible,” the president said.
Trump is calling on Congress to provide additional funding for the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.
“Last year, we secured $50 million in funding Project Safe Neighborhoods, and I am proud to announce we are asking Congress for even more funding this year, and we’ll get it. We’ve deployed nearly 200 new violent crime prosecutors across our country,” he said.
“In 2018, my administration prosecuted more violent criminals than ever before in the history of our country, and we’ve increased the average sentence for drug trafficking to its highest level in many years.Through the combined effort of everyone here today, violent crime is now going down for the first time in a long while,” the president said. “Murders in America’s largest cities dropped by six percent compared to 2016.”
The president cited new homicide data by the police departments represented at the conference showing “steep declines over the last two years” in cities like New Orleans; Newark, N.J.; and Milwaukee, Wis.
“The police departments here today have provided us with new homicide data showing steep declines over the last two years, including an estimated reduction of 16 percent in New Orleans, 27 percent in Newark, and 30 percent in Milwaukee. That's great. Three places -- that's a great job you're doing in those three places, especially,” he said.
Trump said his administration also “will not tolerate smears, or slanders, or assaults on those who wear the badge and police our streets.” Officer safety is a top priority, he said.
“In support of that goal, more than $600 million worth of surplus military equipment has been made available to law enforcement. This is equipment that was rotting - the best stuff, but rotting in warehouses that a past administration didn't want you to have,” Trump said. “Someday they'll explain that one to me. I actually have heard the reasoning, but you're getting it and it's coming in droves, and as we get additional equipment, we send it out to our great police.”