Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee has issued a statement on the recent wave of violence in Flint:
"To have seven people gunned down in one week, including mothers and their children, is absolutely horrific. Flint residents shouldn't have to live in fear for themselves or their children being a victim of such unspeakable acts of violence. The pervasive gun violence that continues to plague our community must stop."
Kildee has also sent a letter to B. Todd Jones, the Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF), imploring the bureau to deploy additional law enforcement resources to help curb the recent increase in violent crime in Flint. The full text of Kildee's letter follows:
The Honorable B. Todd Jones
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Dear Acting Director Jones:
I am writing to implore the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to continue to evaluate all options to confront the epidemic of violence facing the Michigan communities of Flint and Saginaw. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, Flint is unfortunately considered the most dangerous city in the country with over 100,000 people. In 2012 alone, there were 66 homicides and already this year, 36 people have been killed. Moreover, Saginaw, which is also considered one of the most dangerous cities in the country, has also been confronting a recent increase in violent crime.
In just the past week in Flint, there have been seven homicides. Particularly devastating, on Saturday a mother and her twelve-year-old daughter were killed, which marks the second slaying of a child in under a week. Last Monday, a nine-year-old boy was shot to death along with two others; these three fatalities were the second triple homicide in the city in under a year.
In 2012, the ATF conducted a Violent Crime Reduction Partnership, otherwise known as a surge, over the course of four months. This initiative deployed additional law enforcement agents to the area, and due in large part to the ATF’s leadership and acumen, ultimately took 137 criminals and over 10,000 grams of drugs off the streets. In addition, the surge reduced Flint’s homicide rate by over 50 percent during the four-month period.
As the dangerous and frightening violence persists, our communities require additional resources to conduct an additional surge to help reduce violent crime. In recent months, my office has been in regular contact with ATF agents, local law enforcement and community leaders on the ground regarding this very issue. While I remain appreciative of your hard work and commitment to confronting these issues, it is undeniable that additional resources are needed. I appreciate the fiscal constraints facing the ATF; thus, I will continue fighting to fund ATF at a level that will allow it to more fully utilize its unique abilities to curb the violence in our cities. Regardless, I ask you to explore all options to swiftly direct additional resources to the region to address the endemic violence in Flint, Saginaw and the surrounding Michigan communities.