Monday, September 2, 2013

White House convenes big city anti-crime meeting

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter joined 15 other big-city mayors at the White House last week for meetings with President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder over strategies to stem youth violence, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The president wanted to hear ideas on how to create better partnerships between federal agencies and local government to improve crime-fighting efforts, Nutter said after the meetings.

"The president acknowledged there may be no significant federal funding or new programs to roll out," Nutter said. "But several agencies have a variety of resources they already provide. The president focused on what we're doing that works . . . and what other ideas we may utilize to drive down crime in different parts of the country."

Nutter said he was one of four mayors asked to speak and described anti-crime partnerships with federal agencies in Philadelphia, which he credited with helping the city to reduce homicides this year.

He said he suggested that the corporate and philanthropic communities might provide money for new anti-crime initiatives in public-private partnerships if they knew more about Obama's efforts.

A follow-up meeting with Holder got into more detail on the potential use of federal equipment and technology to help local law enforcement, Nutter said. He was joined at the second meeting by Everett Gillison, his chief of staff and deputy mayor for public safety.

Nutter mentioned a program in Memphis, where residents of public housing register their automobiles with police, who then use video surveillance equipment to track vehicles coming into the neighborhoods from outside.

Nutter called the meetings "very productive" and said Obama had assigned Holder and Vice President Biden to continue follow-up work.

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