U.S. Justice Dept doing more to stop crime in Indian Country

The Justice Department wants to provide more than $250 million in anti-crime grants for Indian County, an increase of 54%, partly by creating a 7% budget set-aside from the COPS Hiring Program, Office of Justice Programs anti-crime money, and Office on Violence Against Women accounts, Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

Perrelli described the budget proposal now pending in Congress as “unprecedented support [] public safety initiatives in tribal communities.” Other funding would go for 45 new FBI agents and more federal prosecutors to support law enforcement efforts in Indian Country. Perrelli called the problems in tribal areas severe, saying that American Indian and Alaska Native communities suffer from violent crime at far higher rates than other Americans. Some tribes have experienced rates of violent crime twice, four times, and in some cases over 10 times the national average. Violence against Native women and children is a particular problem, with some counties facing murder rates against Native women well over 10 times the national average. He also cited high rates of intimate-partner violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women.

One major problem with effective tribal law enforcement over the intimate-partner violence is that tribal governments do not have criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians and many of the abusers of Indian women are non-Indians.

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