View Header


                     Office of the Press Secretary
                            (Athens, Greece)
For Immediate Release                                  November 21, 1999

                       STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     The preliminary 1999 Uniform Crime Report released by the FBI today

shows that we are making enormous progress in our national strategy to fight crime. America continues to experience the longest continuous decline in crime on record. Overall crime fell another 10 percent in the first six months of this year as compared to the first half of 1998 -- twice as much as any other six-month period over the last decade. We have the lowest crime rate in 25 years. We have the lowest homicide rate in over 31 years. In every region of our nation, neighborhoods are safer now, and Americans families are more secure than they have been in a generation.

But to keep crime rates down we must remain vigilant. Since I took office, my Administration has focused on a simple but effective crime-fighting strategy: 100,000 more police officers and fewer guns in of the hands of criminals. Today's report shows that our strategy is making a difference. That is why I am pleased that the budget agreement reached last week will extend our successful COPS initiative into the 21st Century -- helping put up to 50,000 more police officers on our streets, creating new community prosecutors, and providing more resources for crime-fighting technologies. Congress must now do its part to reduce gun violence and crime, by making the passage of common-sense gun laws the first order of business when it reconvenes.