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BETHESDA, Md. — The Justice Department says it will offer its resources to help 12 U.S. cities fight violent crime.

The department said Tuesday it will help local authorities study crime patterns and come up with plans to reduce violence. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says officials will come up with “data-driven, evidence-based strategies” that can be measured over time.

The cities are: Birmingham, Alabama; Indianapolis, Indiana; Memphis, Tennessee; Toledo, Ohio; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Buffalo, New York; Cincinnati, Ohio; Houston, Texas; Jackson, Tennessee; Kansas City, Missouri; Lansing, Michigan; and Springfield, Illinois.

The department did not immediately explain how they were selected.

The announcement came at a gathering of federal and state law enforcement officials in Bethesda, Maryland. Sessions has said helping cities combat violence is a top priority for the Justice Department.