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III. New Community -
"I made a commitment, a promise to put 100,000 more
police on our streets, because there is simply no better crime fighting
tool to be found. And I intend to keep that promise. Anyone on Capitol
Hill who wants to play partisan politics with police officers for
America should listen carefully: I will veto any effort to repeal or
undermine the 100,000 police commitment, period."
-- President Clinton February 11, 1995
The Toughest, Smartest Crime Bill in History
Breaking Gridlock. In 1994, after more than 6 years of
gridlock, a bipartisan majority in Congress passed the smartest,
toughest crime bill in the nation's history -- The Violent Crime Control
and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
Unprecedented Support.The Crime Bill passed
with the strong support of every major law enforcement organization in
the country, as well as prosecutors, mayors, county executives and other
state and local officials of both parties.
Cut and Invest. The Crime Bill was paid for by cutting the
federal bureaucracy by more than 250,000 people over five years. By
using the savings to give states and localities the tools and resources
they need to fight crime, the Crime Bill signaled the dawn of a new day
Under Budget and Ahead of Schedule. And by cutting the red
tape and implementing the new law in as simple, non-bureaucratic and non-political a manner as possible, support for the Crime Bill has become even more broad-based
Crime Bill's Four Point Plan
More Police and Community Policing
Law enforcement experts agree that the single most important thing
we can do to reduce crime is to put more police on the street. The President's
plan to put 100,000 more police on the street in community policing represents
the federal government's biggest commitment ever to local law enforcement --
$8.8 billion -- or an almost 20% increase in the nation's police force levels.
This plan is working. Half the nation's law enforcement agencies -- from
jurisdictions of all sizes throughout the country -- have received
grants to hire more than 17,000 new police officers.
Tougher Penalties and More Prison Space
The Crime Bill includes tough new punishments and more prison cells
to help keep criminals behind bars. It includes:
-- a targeted three strikes and you're out provision to keep career violent
offenders behind bars for life;
-- the death penalty for the murder of a federal law enforcement officer and
other heinous crimes
-- increased penalties for sex offenders and a registration requirement for
sexually violent offenders;
-- $7.9 billion for 100,000 more prison cells to help states make sure
that violent offenders serve their full sentences; and -- $1.9
billion to helps states pay for the costs of incarcerating criminal
Tough, Smart Strategy on Youth Crime
Youth crime and violence is at the heart of America's current crime
crisis. While overall crime rates have been dropping, kids today are
increasingly the perpetrators --and the victims -- of some of society's
most violent crimes.
Be Firm. The Crime Bill sends a strong "no gangs, guns and drugs"
message to the 6% of young criminals who commit a majority of serious crimes.
It bans handguns for juveniles; creates stiff penalties for
crime-committing gang members; establishes Boot Camps and Drug Courts to
discipline first-time, non-violent and drug offenders; and provides for
hardened young criminals -- as young as 13-years-old
-- to be tried as adults.
Be Smart. But the Crime Bill also reinforces the difference
between right and wrong by giving at-risk kids positive alternatives to
say "yes" to. It invests billions of dollars for after-school, weekend
and summer programs for at risk youth; prevention block grants; and
other efforts that provide kids with safe havens and teach them the
dangers of drugs, gangs and guns.
Keep Guns Out of the Hands of Criminals
Congress passed the Brady Bill to provide for a 5-day waiting period and
background check of prospective handgun buyers. On the books for 1-year
now, the Brady Law has stopped tens of thousands of fugitives, felons
and other prohibited buyers from purchasing handguns. The Crime Bill
provides funds to help states update their criminal history records.
The Crime Bill also includes a ban on the 19 deadliest assault
weapons and their copies, but specifically protects more than 650
legitimate sporting weapons. Cop-killing assault weapons, like the Uzi
and the TEC-10, are the weapons of choice for drug dealers, gangs and
terrorists -- not hunters and sportsmen.
Move Forward, Not Backward
Unfortunately, the new majority in Congress wants to undo last
year's Crime Bill. They want to scrap the President's 100,000 more
police plan, delete every single prevent ion program and repeal the
hard-fought ban on assault weapons. Nothing could be more offensive to
law enforcement professionals, state and local officials and ordinary
Americans than turning back the clock on crime -- and turning back to
the days of more political rhetoric.
Certainly there's much more
we can do to reduce crime and violence -- and we must. Crime continues
to be the number one concern for millions of working families. But we
need to put new ideas on the table and work to do more --
not less -- for the American people.