The federal government is responding to the high level of violent crime in parts of the Metro East area. U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton says there’s a lot of crime, and not enough cops. “We have a shortage of police power in East St. Louis, Washington Park, Brooklyn and Alorton, and the additional agents that will be coming in will help solve homicides that have gone unsolved, for instance. It will help target ongoing violent criminal activity as it occurs,” he said.
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Personnel from the FBI, the State Police, the U.S. Marshal’s Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are being brought in to help local police get a grip. Prosecutions will be handled by the U.S. attorney or the Saint Clair County state’s attorney, depending upon the offense. Wigginton characterized East St. Louis as a “war zone,” and he doesn’t want to see it be a sanctuary city for violent offenses. Were that to happen, he said, the crime would not be confined to these specific areas, but would spread throughout the region. Wigginton also announced that the WAVE team, for Working Against Violent Elements, which in two years prior produced 3,000 arrests and took 500 weapons off the streets of East St. Louis, he said.