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Tampa leaders meet with President Biden to discuss tackling violent crime

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Local communities across the country are trying to fight violent crime, and President Joe Biden wants them to dedicate more federal money to that effort.

The Biden administration says local governments have already put $10 billion from the American Rescue Plan towards public safety efforts. They hosted local leaders from across the country to discuss that on Friday, including Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Police Chief Mary O’Connor.

“Across the board we’re making sure communities have the resources available to them that they’ve never had before,” President Biden said.

Mayor Castor says her city used the funding to prevent laying off first responders, launch a behavioral health unit and buy body cameras and new police cars.

“Keeping our city one of the safest in the United States,” Castor said.

Chief O’Connor agrees that the money made an important difference.

“Without the funding, there could have been a potential crime increase,” O’Connor said.

They want to continue working on strategies aimed at prevention.

“Rather than responding to some of these calls, let’s prevent them before they ever occur. And that has an impact on violent crime,” Castor said.

Mayor Castor says that really takes a wholistic approach.

“Good paying jobs, housing that is affordable and transportation solutions really goes to the safety and the quality of life of every community,” Castor said.

As the president calls on local leaders to allocate more funding to safety efforts, Chief O’Connor is echoing that call.

“It takes dollars to do those programs and people to support those programs,” O’Connor said.

It’s the right time for states to make these funding decisions because the White House says the Treasury Department is now releasing the second round of funding from the American Rescue Plan.

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