U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an event on gun control in the Rose Garden at the White House April 8, 2021 in Washington, DC.U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an event on gun control in the Rose Garden at the White House April 8, 2021 in Washington, DC.

President Joe Biden urged states and cities to use federal funds to invest in more cops, crisis responders and mental-health and substance-abuse programs.

The president is expected to speak later in the day and ask local leaders to use leftover money from the American Rescue Plan to fight crime during the summer.

Senior administration officials told reporters that local governments have already used $10 billion from the federal aid package to strengthen law enforcement and fund programs that aim to keep neighborhoods safer.

Biden is trying to show an effort to address concerns about crime during a critical election year. According to a Gallup poll, fear of crime and violence in the U.S. reached its highest level since 2016 in April. More than half of Americans worry about lawbreaking.

Concerns among city residents have gone up the most. More than half of urban respondents now worry about crime, up 9 percentage points from the previous year.

A rise in gun violence is likely to be the reason for the polling trends. The firearm homicide rate in 2020 was the highest in 25 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some Democrats want to ensure safer communities. In the wake of a string of high-profile killings of Black people by white officers, Progressives have called for police department budgets to be slashed.

Better trained police forces are the key to safer communities according to more moderate Democrats, including Biden. The White House said Friday that the president wants more police officers on the beat.

The issue of how to reform police departments will be a key issue in the upcoming elections that will determine whether Democrats retain control of Congress. Many Republican candidates have found early success in polls through attacks on certain Democrats, which they view as dangerous.

Biden will meet with local elected officials, chiefs of police and a community violence intervention expert to discuss how the American Rescue Plan can be used to fight crime.

The White House said that the president would make public comments on those efforts and encourage other towns and cities to make their own investments.

The administration said that President Biden believes that Americans deserve to feel safe no matter where they live.