(ABC NEWS) -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced the end of “carnage" across the United States, referencing a line in President Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural address.
“When President Trump was inaugurated, he made the American people a promise: 'This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.' It is a promise he has kept,” Sessions said in a USA Today op-ed published Tuesday and blasted out to reporters Wednesday by the White House.
The op-ed coincided with the FBI’s release of its Preliminary Semiannual Crime Statistics for the first six months of 2017, which concluded that the overall number of crimes in the U.S. decreased by almost 1 percent when compared to crime statistics for the same time period in 2016. The FBI report includes data submitted by over 13,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide through its Uniform Crime Reporting program.
In his op-ed, Sessions insisted the Justice Department’s work combating gangs, human traffickers, gun crimes, violent criminals and the opioid crisis had contributed to the downward trend.
"Trump ran for office on a message of law and order, and he won," Sessions wrote. "When he took office, he ordered the Department of Justice to stop and reverse these trends -- and that is what we have been doing every day for the past year."
But while crime numbers are down, the FBI report shows that the overall murder rate rose 1.5 percent, largely due to an increase in murders in Southern and Midwestern cities. Sessions noted that those numbers are still an improvement over the previous year, when the murder rate rose more than 5 percent.
In the first six months of last year, motor vehicle thefts also shot up by more than 4 percent. And law enforcement agencies in Western states reported a 2.6 percent increase in rape cases.
Meanwhile, Sessions’s op-ed happened to be published on the same day that a 15-year-old Kentucky high school student shot fatally shot 2 classmates and injured 18 others. The incident marked at least the 11th shooting on school property in 2018, according to The New York Times.
Still, Sessions said that current publicly-available data suggest the overall crime rate will continue to decrease.
“Crime rates are not like the tides — we can help change them. And under Trump’s strong leadership, we will,” he said.