For months, FBI Director James Comey has been warning about a troubling spike in homicides in some of America's biggest cities.
On Tuesday, the bureau released preliminary crime statistics that back up some of his concerns. The FBI reported that violent crime rose in the first six months of 2015, with murders increasing by more than 6 percent over that same stretch the year before.
Preliminary FBI data indicated rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults also grew from January to June 2015. The greatest increase happened in cities with between 250,000 and 499,999 people. The data come from voluntary reports by more than 12,800 police departments and law enforcement agencies across the United States.
Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said in a prepared statement that "it is too early to draw any long-term conclusions" and "overall violent crime rates remain historically low."
Still, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her deputy, Sally Yates, are intensifying their work to identify and fight violent crime.
Next month, the spokesman said, DOJ leaders will bring together federal prosecutors and other law enforcement officials for training in anti-violence strategies.