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ATF Mobile Unit Deployed to Jackson to Target Gun Crime

A man wearing a blue shirt with the words "ATF AGENT" in large yellow letters on the back is seen walking towards a crime scene, lifting the police line do not cross tape t o enter
Federal officials announced the deployment of an Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives mobile unit to investigate crimes committed with firearms in Jackson, Miss., on April 3, 2024. AP Photo/LM Otero, File

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s capital city, which has nation-leading rates of gun violence, will receive additional federal resources to investigate crimes committed with firearms, federal officials announced Wednesday.

The Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has deployed a mobile unit to Jackson that will assist law enforcement agencies in the region with investigating gun-related crimes, Sheila Wilbanks, a spokesperson for the U.S. Southern District of Mississippi, said in a news release.

It is the latest move in a coordinated effort among local, state and federal, law enforcement officials to surge resources for operations aimed at curbing violent crime in the city. Even though Jackson’s homicide rate had dropped for two consecutive years, it still led the nation in killings per capita in 2023, according to an analysis conducted by WLBT-TV. The city of almost 150,000 recorded 118 killings last year.

In February, officials announced Operation Unified, an initiative targeting drug traffickers and violent criminals.

The mobile unit, a National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, is a database of bullet casings recovered from crime scenes across the country. Investigators can use the database to check if the casings recovered from a crime scene were fired from a gun that may have been used in other crimes, allowing them to disrupt “shooting cycles,” Wilbanks said.

In 2022, the Justice Department awarded Jackson a $675,000 grant for investigations of crimes. committed with firearms.

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