‘We need to do a better job’: Attorney General Sessions speaks on Kansas City crime

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City is determined to get off the nation's most dangerous cities list, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to help make our community safer.

From new partnerships, to more prosecutors and grant dollars, Sessions said he'll stop at nothing to turn the tide on violent crime.

Already this year, Kansas City has had 91 murders, and that's actually an improvement from the past two years.

"These numbers are deeply troubling, and I know you feel that and are concerned about it. They represent a reversal of decades of declining crime. So we've got to get back on track, and we are determined to do so," Sessions said.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Sessions, speaking Thursday in Kansas City, touted a re-vamped version of a 17-year-old program called Project Safe Neighborhoods.

The goal is improving partnerships between  police, prosecutors and community groups.

"If we do these things right -- we stay in touch with our state and local law officers, we target the most serious criminal elements, we work with our community -- we can make the kind of progress we've seen before," he said.

For starters, the U.S. attorney general has shifted existing funds around, freeing up cash to hire 300 more federal prosecutors. Ten of those new attorneys are in Missouri, including four working in the Kansas City district.

"These increases in prosecutions make a difference and will impact crime rates," Sessions said.

Sessions also announced $1.7 million in grant funds to the Missouri State Highway Patrol to upgrade criminal records technology.

"That will have the added benefit of improving the information available to our national firearm background check system, and we still need more records brought into it. That, in turn, will help law enforcement officers catch wanted criminals and keep guns out of the hands of criminals. It will save lives," Sessions said.

The attorney general said the last time Project Safe Neighborhoods was fully implemented, it led to anywhere from a 4 to 42 percent drops in violent crime.  He's hopeful these new efforts will get even better results.