Rep. Comstock: Va. needs more funding to fight gang violence

Virginia Republican Congressional candidate Barbara Comstock prepares to speak at her election night party, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 in Ashburn, Va. Comstock ran against democrat John Foust for the 10th Congressional District of Virginia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON — After a rise in gang violence in the D.C. metro area, a Virginia congresswoman is asking for help from the Justice Department.

Congresswoman Barbara Comstock sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions Friday, asking that $1.92 million be granted to the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force.

Comstock noted that both Fairfax and Prince William counties have seen increases in homicides recently, with the task force investigating 14 of them.

One of those deaths was of a 15-year-old middle school student in Fairfax County.

However, Comstock said the money to battle gang violence has decreased. She said the task force had a budget of $3 million as recently as 2012. Last year, the budget was only $325,000.

“Over the past several years, the Justice Department hasn’t been providing the resources, particularly in our region,” Comstock told WTOP. “We had a very effective — we still do — Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force, but they were not funded at the rate they had been before.”

Comstock said she was confident that the Justice Department will fulfill her request, in part because of the Deputy Attorney General’s ties to the region.

“Rod Rosenstein has been here in the region, he’s very aware of the threats that we’ve had from MS-13. I’m thrilled that we have somebody that is so familiar with our region that can help us,” Comstock said.

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