THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON ANNOUNCES 21st CENTURY POLICING INITIATIVE January 14, 1999
Today, President Clinton will announce the inclusion in the FY 2000 budget of nearly $1.3 billion for a new 21st Century Policing Initiative. The new initiative builds on the President's successful COPS program by helping communities to continue to hire, redeploy, and retain police officers; giving law enforcement officers access to the latest crime-fighting technologies; and targeting funds to engage the entire community -- including community leaders, prosecutors, probation and parole officers, school officials, and faith-based organizations -- in preventing and fighting crime.
In addition, the President will announce the release of new crime statistics showing that crime rates continued to drop significantly in 1998.
Giving Police the Support and Tools They Need
Renewing the COPS program. The President's FY 2000 budget proposes nearly $1.3 billion -- and nearly $6.4 billion over the next five years --for a new 21st Century Policing Initiative to help communities build on their efforts under the successful COPS program. Without these new funds, the COPS program would be phased out this year, shortly after meeting its goal of helping communities put 100,000 more police on the street. National law enforcement organizations support extending funding for the COPS program.
21st Century Policing Initiative. The 21st Century Policing program is designed to help communities continue to hire, redeploy, and retain police officers; to give law enforcement officers access to the latest crime-fighting technologies; and to engage the entire community -- including community-based prosecutors, probation and parole officers, school officials, faith-based organizations, and many others --in preventing and fighting crime. Specifically, the initiative, as outlined in the FY 2000 budget, calls for the following investments:
$600 million for more police on the street. These funds would be used primarily to hire and redeploy between 30,000 and 50,000 more law enforcement officers over five years, with an effort to target new police officers to crime "hot spots." A portion of the funds would also be used to help economically-distressed communities absorb the long-term costs of their new police hires, and for programs to train, educate, and recruit police officers. $350 million for crime-fighting technologies. These funds would be used to help state and local enforcement agencies tap into new technologies that will allow them to communicate more effectively, solve more crimes, and conduct comprehensive crime analysis. Examples include: Improved police communications. The World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings dramatically illustrated the need for law enforcement officials from different agencies and jurisdictions to communicate effectively in joint operations. In Alexandria, the police department is piloting a number of different technologies (computers, wireless communications, videocams, software, and databases) that will enable police and other public safety officials to communicate and send data and images seamlessly across many jurisdictions. The President's new initiative will allow other communities to do the same, as well as to improve their communications in other ways. New crime-solving technologies. We can solve many more crimes by improving the nation's overburdened and underfunded crime labs. The President's initiative proposes making high-end technologies --such as DNA analysis, photo enhancement, and voice recognition --available to even the smallest police departments. Bolstering Crime Analysis. As more police departments move toward community policing, many have found that their greatest tool is real-time crime and arrest data, which allows them to achieve a detailed understanding of their crime problem and determine how to best combat it. A notable example is New York's COMPSTAT project, which utilizes computerized statistics and mapping to analyze crime trends and allocate police resources. The President's new initiative will help local police departments tap into crime mapping and other technologies that will improve officers' ability to analyze, predict and respond to local crime problems. $200 million for community prosecutors and neighborhood district attorneys. As police and community residents have joined forces to fight crime on a proactive basis, communities also have turned to local prosecutors to play a more active role in the crime-fighting effort. In Multnomah County, OR, neighborhood DAs work closely with local police, spend time in neighborhoods, and help solve local crime problems. The President's initiative will help communities throughout the country hire more community-based prosecutors and develop community-based prosecution programs. $125 million for community-wide crime prevention. Finally, the President's 21st Century Policing proposes specifically targeting funds to engage the entire community in preventing and fighting crime. These funds could be used to: work with probation and parole officers in supervising released offenders; work with local school officials in adopting community-wide plans to prevent school violence; involve faith-based organizations in juvenile crime prevention; and establish citizens' police academies that teach neighborhood residents problem-solving skills.
Crimes Rates Continued to Decline in 1998
New mid-year data for 1998. Today, for the first time, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) will release mid-year data showing that crime rates continued to decline in 1998. According to BJS, the total number of serious violent crimes -- including crimes not reported to police -- is expected to fall below 3 million in 1998 for the first time since the start of its National Crime Victimization Survey in 1973. Property crimes will also continue to decline to record lows. By the end of 1998, both violent and property crime rates will have fallen by well over 20 percent since 1993.
Murder rates down dramatically. Recently, BJS also released a study showing that homicide rates have dropped to their lowest level in 30 years. If the current rates remain steady through the end of 1998, the murder rate will have dropped by more than 30 percent since 1993.