President Biden will unveil Thursday his $37 billion plan to stem a rising wave of violent crime by adding more police, expanding mental health and job training programs, and cracking down on guns.
Mr. Biden will lay out the plan during a speech in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Under his proposal, Mr. Biden will set aside roughly $13 billion over the next five years to add more than 100,000 police nationwide. The funds will be doled out through the Justice Department’s COPS hiring program.
At the same time, the federal government will spend roughly $3 billion to help local communities clear court backlogs to get criminals off the streets. Communities can also use the funds to set up task forces aimed at sharing intelligence on gun cases.
Mr. Biden’s plan would also create a $15 billion grant program that cities and states can prevent violent crime by using mental health workers to respond to non-violent situations to ease the burden on police. It will also help recently released offenders reenter society by lifting restrictions on access to federal benefit programs.
The president will also propose increasing the budget for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Crime rates have soared over the past two years and show no signs of abating. In Chicago, violent crimes are up 34% from last year, while New York has recorded a 37% increase.
On Tuesday, a crew member for the television show “Law and Order” was shot and killed on set in Brooklyn and Starbucks announced last week that it was closing 16 stores in major cities because of crime concerns.
Even midsized cities have been plagued by violence. Rochester, New York, for example, is on pace to shatter last year’s record of 81 murders.
Mr. Biden’s handling of crime has been an Achilles heel, with voters giving him poor marks as he struggles to tame violent crime without funding his party’s progressive base and Black voters who want more scrutiny of local police departments.
A Rasmussen poll released at the end of June found that just 30% of voters rated Mr. Biden as good or excellent for his handling of crime, while 51% gave him a poor rating. That represents a decrease from April when 35% of voters gave Mr. Biden high marks for responding to crime.