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FBI dealing with more violent crime, director tells Senate Judiciary Committee

FBI dealing with more violent crime, director tells Senate Judiciary Committee
The FBI is dealing with more incidents of violent crime this year, including crimes in reaction to June's Supreme Court decision on abortion, director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. File Photo by Ting Shen/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 4 (UPI) -- The FBI is dealing with more incidents of violent crime this year, director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

"You know, I speak with chiefs and sheriffs all the time -- in fact, just about every week, sometimes more, and the No. 1 concern I hear from them, by far, is rising violence in their communities," Wray told committee members.

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"Whether it's gangs terrorizing a neighborhood, well-known trigger-pullers who keep finding their way back out onto the streets, robbery crews graduating from carjackings to aggravated assaults and worse. The violent crime problem is real, and it's one we are firmly determined to combat."

In the last fiscal year, FBI task forces focused on violent crime made more than 17,000 arrests, while seizing 8,000 firearms and dismantling nearly 300 gangs and criminal enterprises across the country, Wray said.

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He pointed to three FBI field offices, in San Antonio, Phoenix and Sacramento, as an example of what his officers are dealing with on a routine basis.

In the same week, agents made more than a combined 30 arrests, including suspected drug traffickers with ties to drug cartels. They also seized multiple firearms and pounds of illicit street drugs.

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"That is just three FBI field offices in a single week," Wray said in his opening remarks.

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Wray, who is in his sixth year overseeing the FBI, was asked about violent crime as a reaction to June's decision by the Supreme Court decision on the right to abortion.

"I believe we have seen an uptick in that category," said Wray, 55, responding to questions from Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Amy Klobuchar D-Minn.

"I don't care what side of the issue you are on. You don't get to use violence or threats of violence."

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That violence comes as the agency tries to tackle the continuous threat of mass shootings.

"These attacks [shootings] on regular everyday people going about their regular, everyday lives are devastating for the communities affected, certainly, but they touch us all, and I can assure you the FBI family feels the heartbreak, too, and we're committed to doing our part to assist our partners and support victims and their families," Wray said.

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