Reuters) - The Obama administration is taking a cautious step toward confronting the politically tricky subject of gun violence with an initiative unveiled on Tuesday that focuses on prevention.
It was not the gun control launch that some of Barack Obama's supporters hoped for after the president won a second four-year term in a November 6 election.
Instead, U.S. Justice Department and Connecticut officials announced a statewide program that targets repeat criminals, creates alternatives for potential gang members and rallies neighborhoods against violence.
The initiative, known as Project Longevity, will send new federal grant money to Connecticut and involve agents, academics and social workers working for or with the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"Today's announcement underscores our commitment to working together across levels of government and jurisdictional boundaries to protect the American people from the crime that threatens too many neighborhoods and claims too many lives," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told a news conference in New Haven, Connecticut.
Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, a Democrat, in June adopted a strategy known as "focused deterrence" that targets a small number of suspects who are under the supervision of probation officers or otherwise well known to law enforcement.
The model, which emphasizes education and other services for those suspects, as well as community meetings, has been credited with reducing violence in Boston and elsewhere.
Connecticut will be the first statewide test of the model, officials said.