CHICAGO (CBS) — Amid the usual summer spike in shootings in Chicago, federal authorities were sending more agents to help address gun violence in the city.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was sending seven more agents to Chicago, for a total of 52 agents helping stop the flow of illegal guns into the city, according to the Justice Department. Three of the new agents already were on the ground in Chicago earlier this week. The other four were en route.
“The Department of Justice will continue to do everything in its power to help the city of Chicago combat gun violence,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “These new agents are a sign of the federal government’s ongoing commitment to helping local leaders ensure Chicago’s streets are safe.”
The new agents will coordinate with federal prosecutors, and state and local law enforcement agencies.
ATF officials noted 60 percent of guns recovered in violent crimes in Chicago were originally sold in other states, and illegally smuggled into the city.
“ATF’s commitment to targeting traffickers and trigger pullers in Chicago is bolstered by these additional resources,” said ATF Director B. Todd Jones. “These resources, combined with ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center, will strengthen and build on our outstanding partnership with the Chicago Police Department and other local, state and regional law enforcement to bring safety and justice back to the community.”
In June, the ATF opened a new Gun Crime Intelligence Center in Chicago, a hub where authorities from several agencies can work together to investigate various gun crimes, and link cases together. Computers at the center allow agents and officers access to ballistics labs, Chicago police cameras, and other resources to coordinate gun crime investigations across various agencies.
The FBI’s Chicago office also temporarily added 20 agents to its efforts to curb gang violence this summer, for a total of 120 FBI agents assigned to gang crimes and violent crime.