INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 3, 2015)-- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is bringing in more agents to help the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) fight violent crime. Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott sat down exclusively with FOX59's Nicole Pence to talk about the new federal agents.
"I feel a lot of confidence and true hope for our community here in Indianapolis," said Abbott.
Abbott oversees nearly 140 special agents across Indiana.
The FBI's Safe Streets Task Force works with IMPD and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to target violent criminals.
"The relationship with IMPD and the FBI is growing? Yes, absolutely," said Abbott.
It's not a new program, but it's expanding. Abbott says the FBI has hired at least six new Indianapolis agents to investigate violent crimes, including gang activities and gun crimes.
"We've increased the number of agents that work on the Safe Streets Task Force. Instead of one squad, we have two squads," said Abbott.
When asked if Hoosiers should be more concerned about violent crime in Indianapolis because of the new agents, Abbott responded, "I really hope that makes them feel more secure. We have a plan going forward."
Abbott says nearly every new FBI agent will start in the task force.
2014 data from DPS shows more than 80 percent of homicide victims had a criminal past. More than 40 percent of both the victims and their killers had previous gun-related charges.
Abbott says the extra FBI agents will help keep criminals behind bars longer.
"The ability to bring federal prosecution to the table is a huge help, because it usually includes a much stiffer penalty," said Abbott.
The Special Agent in Charge also says the FBI is focused on two other priorities: Terrorism and cyber crimes.