President Trump speaks to Project Safe Neighborhoods Conference in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- "After many years of neglect, we are bringing back this life-saving program stronger than ever before," President Donald Trump told those at the Project Safe Neighborhoods Conference in Kansas City.

President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, in Kansas City, Mo. (Official White House Photos by Joyce N. Boghosian)

This week marked the first national meeting of the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative in eight years.

It was started by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft during the George W. Bush administration for law enforcement officials, attorneys, and community leaders across the country to work together to reduce crime rates.

"In the two years before I took office, the violent crime rate increased by seven percent, and murders were up by over 20 percent," Trump said. "But, we're turning it around quickly, much quicker than anyone thought possible."

President Trump also spoke on prison reform.

"We all benefit when those who have served their time can find a job, support their families, and stay the hell out of jail, right," Trump asked.

The president also spoke on illegal immigration.

Friday morning, Trump signed a short term spending bill, funding governmental agencies until December 21st. This potentially sets up a pre-Christmas showdown on funding for the border wall.

"Congress must fully fund border security in the year ending funding bill. We have to get this done. They're playing games. They're playing political games," Trump said. "I actually think the politics of what they're doing is very bad for them, but we're going to very soon find out."

The president said funding for these collaboration projects increased by $50 million this year, and said he'd be asking Congress for more money for these programs again next year.

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