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Compton to receive federal aid in reducing violent crimes

COMPTON, CA - JULY 19:  People walk past Compton City Hall on July 19, 2012 in Compton, California.  The City of Compton located south of Los Angeles with a population of nearly 100,000 must decide by September 1 whether to file for bankruptcy. According to city officials, Compton has an accumulated $43 million deficit and will run out of cash to make its payroll on September 1.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
File: People walk past Compton City Hall.

Compton is one of five cities chosen to receive federal aid to help reduce chronic violence in the community, law enforcement officials said Monday.

The city will become part of the Justice Department's Violence Reduction Network, a two-year program that enables local law enforcement to work with federal officials on gang violence and prevention, human trafficking, mental illness and homelessness, at-risk youth and other public safety issues, according to a joint statement from U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker and Los Angeles Sheriff Jim McDonnell.

"For decades, Compton has been deeply affected by violence linked to gangs and other criminal activity. The residents of Compton deserve safe neighborhoods and parks where their children can play," Decker said in the statement.

As part of the program, an assistant U.S. attorney will work out of the Compton station of the L.A. Sheriff's Department. Compton has contracted with the county to provide law enforcement services since its own police force was disbanded in 2000.

Four federal agencies have devoted resources to help the Sheriff's Department, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"Basically what it allows for is more resources to come to Compton," Jasmyne Cannick, the city's public information officer, told KPCC. "A lot of these resources are going to come at the federal level."

Compton has seen reduced rates of violence over the last several years, according to Cannick. "This will just be a boost to that," she said.

Mayor Aja Brown and other elected city officials are committed to working with law enforcement to make sure Compton continues to grow, Cannick said. "Compton ... is definitely going to continue focusing on reducing the number of gang related homicides," she said.

The other cities selected for the program were Little Rock, Arkansas; West Memphis, Arkansas; Flint, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey.