Feds team up with Philly cops to target violent crime

Posted: July 24, 2012

WHEN FEDERAL agents and Philadelphia cops arrested a group of gun-toting men near the airport on Wednesday — thwarting an alleged plan to rob a drug dealer — the takedown was the result of a new partnership between federal and local officials to combat violent and drug-related crime across the city.

Attorney General Eric Holder and Mayor Nutter announced the partnership at City Hall on Monday.

The partnership includes more than 50 federal law-enforcement officials, and Holder said that during a four-month "surge," which began June 4, federal resources are being used to build local capacity, enhance training, coordinate outreach, bolster intelligence and help plan and execute more sophisticated criminal investigations and prosecutions.

To date, the surge has seized more than 80 firearms and netted more than 300 arrests for violent-crime, drug, gun and other offenses, officials said.

"Your hiding days are over," Nutter said. "We're coming after you and we're going to take you away for a long time."

Although Nutter said the overall violent crime rate had decreased by 19 percent since 2007, the number of homicides — 196 so far this year — was up about 15 percent over a comparable time period in 2010 and 2011, according to police statistics.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said prosecuting criminals on the federal level was important, because the penalties for violent crime, especially when guns are used, are more severe than they are at the state level.

"When the complaint says ‘USA v. somebody,' I think it sends a bit of a different message," Ramsey said.

"We can use all the help we can get," he added.

Contact Michael Hinkelman at 215-854-2656 or hinkelm@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @MHinkelman.

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