73
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      ATF withdraws special agents after 12-week crime-fighting surge in Flint

      There are 125 fewer guns on the streets of Flint, thanks to a joint initiative among federal, state and local law enforcement to reduce violent crime.

      It was part of a 12-week surge led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) called the Violent Crime Reduction Partnership (VCRP).

      "It's created an atmosphere where all of us know that we can work together and cooperate and continue to do the work that we have all been sent out to do,?? Flint Police Chief Alvern Lock said.

      Flint was the only city in Michigan part of the ATF's three-month surge that began in July.

      Now, the ATF is withdrawing a dozen special agents who worked with Michigan State Police and Flint police officers and helped arrest people with prior arrests and felony convictions. Of the 130 arrests made, the defendants had 158 felony convictions and 823 prior arrests among them.

      ??These two categories were indicative of us trying to focus on the most violent crimes, repeat offenders that were operating in the city of Flint,?? said David McCain, an agent with the ATF??s Detroit Field Division.

      But as for reaching the long-term goal of making Flint a safer place, ??That's a longer road, that's a harder road, it's a road we're all committed to,?? said Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wininger.

      Some Flint residents are admittedly uneasy about the withdrawal of ATF agents.

      ??Crime is never going to stop,?? Betty Brown of Flint said. ??If they get that concept it is here to stay, then common sense would have told them to keep it going."

      Authorities insist violent crime can't be tackled in three months and collaborative efforts will continue beyond this summer's surge.