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January 14, 1999

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America is grateful for the hard work of our men and women in uniform. Every day you make our streets and schools safer, our homes more secure, and in so doing -- make no mistake about it -- you make freedom more real for the American people. We know you can't do it alone. We've tried to be good partners. We intend to be better partners as we move to the next century.

President Bill Clinton
January 14, 1999

Today, President Clinton travels to Alexandria, Virginia to announce the 21st Century Policing Initiative to help communities hire and retain a strong police force, provide the most current crime fighting technologies, and target resources to prevent and fight crime. In addition, the President will announce the release of new statistics, showing that crime rates continued to drop significantly in 1998.

A Presidential Plan To Keep Our Streets And Families Safe. In his budget proposal for 2000, President Clinton is proposing a 21st Century Policing Initiative to keep our streets safe and crime rates low. The President is calling for funding to renew the COPS program, which is expected to meet its goal of helping fund 100,000 more police by later this year. Without renewal of this funding, the COPS program would be phased out by next year. The 21st Century Policing program is designed to help communities maintain and reduce crime rates through a series of proposals. The President is calling for investments in the following areas:

  • Putting More Police On The Street. The President is requesting an additional $600 million to hire and redeploy between 30,000 and 50,000 more law enforcement officers over the next five years, with a focus on crime "hot spots." A portion of these 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;
  • Investing In Crime-Fighting Technologies. The President will request $350 million to help state and local law enforcement agencies tap into new technologies that will allow them to fight crime more effectively:
    • Improved Police Communications: The President's new initiative will allow communities to invest in modern technologies, including, wireless communications, videocams, software, and databases;
    • New Crime-Solving Technologies: The President is proposing to make high-end technologies, such as DNA analysis, photo enhancement, and voice recognition, available to even the smallest police departments;
    • Strengthening Crime Analysis: The President's initiative will help local police departments tap into crime mapping and other technologies that will improve their ability to analyze, predict, and respond to local crime problems;
  • Involving The Entire Community In Crime Fighting. The President's plan will help communities throughout the country hire more community-based prosecutors and develop community-based programs. In addition, the President's plan specifically targets funds to engage the entire community, including police, school officials, and faith-based organizations in preventing and fighting crime.

Crime Rates Are Falling To Generational Lows. Crime rates have fallen dramatically under President Clinton. Homicide rates are at their lowest level in 30 years, and the overall crime rate is at a 27-year low. A report released today by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) builds on this record:

  • Serious violent crime is expected to fall below 3 million in 1998 for the first time since the start of the National Crime Victimization Survey in 1973;
  • By the end of 1998, both violent and property crime rates will have fallen by well over 20 percent since 1993.

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