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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 1, 1997
                       STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Four years ago, my Administration made a commitment to take our streets back from crime and violence. We have a comprehensive anti-crime plan, and it is working. More community police, tougher punishments and fewer guns in the hands of criminals are making a difference.

Today's Justice Department release marks the largest one-year decline in murder, aggravated assault and violent crime in the past 35 years. The continued downward trend over the past four years is further evidence that we are on the right track with increased community policing, tougher penalties and greater juvenile crime prevention efforts.

Much work remains to be done, however. Juvenile crime and violence must be our top law enforcement priority for the next four years. My Anti-Gang and Youth Violence Strategy declares war on juvenile crime and gangs, with new prosecutors and tougher penalties, an extension of the Brady Bill so violent teenage criminals will never have the right to purchase a handgun, and resources to keep schools open after hours, on weekends, and in the summer.

While the House-passed juvenile crime legislation falls short of the goals outlined in my Strategy, I am hopeful that the Senate will improve on this measure and pass it without delay. We must keep the crime rate coming down --and every child's prospect of a bright future going up.