U.S. police chiefs meet to discuss crime surge

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 03, 2015 11:40 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Big city police chiefs will meet in Washington on Monday to discuss how to deal with surging crime in the United States, especially homicides, organizers said.

The meeting of Major Cities Chiefs Association is aimed at devising strategies and examining causes of rising crime, Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier, who organized the meeting, said in a statement.

"The goal of the summit is to identify potential

gaps and propose solutions that will help us stop this escalating violence," she said.

The meeting comes as cities across the United States are grappling with increases in crime rates after seeing them drop in recent years to their lowest levels in decades.

The U.S. capital has had 87 homicides this year, up from 69 in the same period last year. Lanier has attributed the increase to rising use of synthetic drugs that has led to overdoses and more violence.

Police are also facing challenges from repeat gun offenders, she said.

Baltimore had 45 homicides in July, the highest monthly total since 1972, and in May tallied 42 killings. The carnage came after Baltimore was torn by rioting in April over the death of a black man from an injury in police custody.

Baltimore interim Police Chief Kevin Davis said on Sunday that 10 federal agents would join the department's homicide unit to help solve killings.

Milwaukee posted 74 homicides in the first half of the year, more than double the number for the same period in 2014, according to the city's Homicide Review Commission.

The chiefs association groups the 66 biggest police and sheriffs' departments in the United States, as well as police agencies in Canada and Britain.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)