MOSCOW, May 31 (RAPSI) – Criminal prosecutions have increased significantly in America’s Indian country since 2009, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed Thursday as it announced the release of a report entitled “Indian Country Investigations and Prosecutions” to Congress.

Under US federal law, the term “Indian Country” encompasses all land within the limits of any Indian reservation that falls under US jurisdiction, all dependent Indian communities within the US, and all Indian allotments, the Indian titles to which have not been extinguished.

In the DOJ’s announcement Thursday, US Attorney for the District of North Dakota and Chairman of the Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on Native American Issues Timothy Purdon attributed the increased rates of prosecution to enhanced efforts spearheaded by the US Attorney’s office, stating: “The notable increase in prosecutions of Indian Country crime described in this report are the result of the many initiatives led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country… These efforts and the resulting increase in prosecutions are a testament to the Justice Department’s commitment to public safety in Indian Country and they are an encouraging step toward safer, stronger native communities.”

According to the report, in 2009 the US Attorney General launched an initiative aimed at enhancing public safety for American Indians and Alaska Natives and institutionalizing the commitment of US authorities to the public safety enjoyed by tribal nations.

The report, which spans 2011 and 2012, reflects the outcome of this initiative through a range of statistical data relating to investigative and prosecutorial efforts in Indian country.

Among this data was the finding of a 54% increase in Indian country prosecutions in US federal courts since the year the initiative was launched – from a caseload of 1,091 cases filed in the fiscal year of 2009, to 1,677 filed in 2012.

The report begins with a quote by US Attorney General Eric Holder singing the praises of the results of these efforts: “Across the country, U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, and our other federal partners have been focused on fighting crime in Indian country and strengthening the bond between federal and tribal law enforcement. This report on federal law enforcement efforts in Indian country shows that we are beginning to see results, but there is more work to be done, and we will continue our commitment to strengthen public safety for tribal nations.”

The report notes various difficulties present in law enforcement efforts in Indian country, including a ratio of law enforcement officials to population served that remains lower than in other US jurisdictions, as well as the fact that in many cases, law enforcement agencies are charged with patrolling large, sparsely populated areas.