THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT BY THE VICE PRESIDENT
There is much good news for the American people in the National Crime Victimization Survey, released today by the Department of Justice. The ten percent decline in violent crime between 1998 and 1999 represents the largest single drop since this survey was begun in 1973. It means that violent crime went down by nearly one-third from 1993 to 1999.
Those are more than mere statistics to families in communities across our country. They represent a better quality of life, safer homes and neighborhood streets, more protection for our kids and senior citizens. The drop in crime symbolizes, too, the courage and professionalism of the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every hour of every day to prevent crime from occurring, and catching criminals when laws are broken. We are also thankful to all law enforcement professionals, prosecutors, community leaders and others who have contributed to this success. Simply put, America is a safer country because of their hard work and sacrifice.
This dramatic reduction in the crime rate also underscores the success of our crime-fighting policies, which have emphasized smarter prevention and tougher enforcement. Our effort to put 100,000 police on America's streets has bolstered the front-line defenses against those who would cause harm to innocent lives. And our Safe Cities program has brought new technology to police forces so they can focus in on "hot spots" in neighborhoods across the country. Community oriented crime-fighting techniques work.
However, the progress we have seen should not make us content with the status quo. Despite the greater safety we enjoy, too many people remain fearful of the streets outside their homes. Too many parents and kids are concerned about the security of their schools. We must do more. Congress must act to fund an additional 50,000 community police officers as well as more prosecutors and ATF agents and inspectors. Congress must also reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. By taking such steps now, we can help to ensure that the rate of crime continues to fall.