WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressional members and police officers are sounding the alarm on the rise in violent crime across the U.S. and sadly, we're seeing our fair share of that here in the Erie and Elmira areas. Congressional members are trying to tackle this issue head on.  

Back in December of 2021, Elmira investigators responded to a scene following reports of a stabbing and gun shots. When they got there, they found a 35-year old man with an injury to his neck. He was later pronounced dead. And recently, Erie police said a 13 year-old boy was shot in the face. Congressional members said there’s a rise in violent crime and it’s a nation-wide problem.  

“Over the past two years, homicide rates have jumped almost 40 percent,” said Andy Edmiston with the National Association of Police Organizations. “Police departments across the country are fighting to contain this violent crime.” 

“The number one priority has to be the reduction of violent crime,” said rep. Val Demings (D- FL).  

Representatives said members here in congress disagree with each other often and even vilifying each other however when it comes to issues like addressing violent crime, that's when members on both sides of the aisle should come together. 

“You people hear about the rise in crime across our country, I hear from Iowans about the difficulty in recruitment for our police forces,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R- IA).  

Republicans and democrats both focused on crime today. While republicans have criticized some Dems for saying we should de-fund law enforcement agencies, some democrats are pushing to pass a so-called “VICTIM Act” which they say would fund police departments by giving them more money to hire, train and retain detectives. 

“This bill does a few things,” said Rep. Dwight Evans (D- PA). “Number one: solve more fatal shootings and non-fatal shootings. Number two: getting more shooters off the streets. Number three: getting more help for victims with closure of these dreadful crimes.” 

Members hope legislation like this will provide relief for staffing and training in our local law enforcement agencies which in turn, will help solve and deter violent crimes.