US Tackles Violence in Mississippi, Tennessee

     (CN) — The federal government said Monday that it has added Jackson, Miss., and Nashville, Tenn., to its growing nationwide anti-violence network.
     U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the two southern cities will be added to the Justice Department’s Violence Reduction Network, or VRN.
     VRN is a government program aimed at combating violence in cities that exceed the national average for violence. It includes customized training and technical assistance for local law enforcement, site liaisons, information-sharing tools and an annual member summit.
     The program started with five cities — Camden, N.J., Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Calif., and Wilmington, Del. — in 2014. More cities, including Milwaukee, St. Louis and New Orleans, were added in 2015 and 2016.
     Nashville and Jackson bring the total number of cities in the VRN program up to 15.
     “I applaud the leaders of both cities for their commitment, and I am excited to have them join this innovative network,” Lynch said of the latest VRN additions at Monday’s fourth annual VRN summit in Little Rock, Ark.
     Lynch on Monday also announced $54 million in grants to law-enforcement agencies, researchers and municipalities to pay for body cameras and for the testing of sexual-assault kits.
     Another $13.6 million in grants will go to the development of data-based approaches to crime-reduction, the Justice Department said.
     “Nothing threatens the vibrancy of our communities and the well-being of our people as severely as violence,” Lynch said at the summit. “Violent crime endangers lives, destroys families and paralyzes neighborhoods. It stifles opportunity and spreads fear. It deters investment and discourages education. And it undermines America’s founding promises of life, liberty and opportunity for all.”

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