SENATOR BIDEN: "No Surprise Crime is Up When Administration Has Repeatedly Ignored Needs of Law Enforcement"
BIDEN: "This Administration has failed our neighborhoods, our police departments, our communities by shortchanging the men and women who keep us safe everyday"
BIDEN: "The federal government has taken its focus off street crime since 9/11, asking law enforcement to do more with less ... fewer police on the street preventing crime and protecting communities means more crime - it's as simple that."
U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, reiterated his call to fully fund the successful COPS program in wake of new data detailing nationwide increases in murders, robberies and other felonies for a second consecutive year.
"It's no surprise that crime is up when this Administration has repeatedly ignored the needs of law enforcement," said Sen. Biden. "The Bush Administration has all but eliminated the COPS program. Overall funding for state and local law enforcement programs has been slashed by billions and the COPS hiring program has been completely cut. This Administration has failed our neighborhoods, our police departments, our communities by shortchanging the men and women who keep us safe everyday."
"After years of driving crime rates down, we're now in reverse gear - for the second year in a row," said. Sen. Biden. "It's time to get back to crime-fighting basics - that means more cops on the streets, equipped with the tools and resources they need to keep our neighborhoods safe."
According to news reports today previewing the FBI's annual crime report based on data from the United Crime Reporting (UCR) database, FBI Assistant Director John Miller said the report will be similar to the recent findings by the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington think-tank that in March reported increases in the number of murders, robberies and gun crimes in large and mid-sized cities. According to FBI preliminary figures released in December 2006, violent crimes rose by 3.7 percent nationwide during the first six months of 2006. Violent crime refers to acts of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
"More than a decade ago, we faced a similar violent crime crisis," said Sen. Biden. "We overcame it by supporting local law enforcement and passing the most sweeping anti-crime bill in our history, creating the Community Oriented Policing Services Program - the COPS program. We funded 118,000 local officers, expanding community policing across the nation. And it worked - crime rates fell for eight straight years. Violent crime dropped 26 percent; the murder rate dropped 34 percent."
On May 23, Sen. Biden chaired a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs about the federal role in helping communities prevent and respond to violent crime. Across the board, leaders of national law enforcement organizations, including the National Sheriffs Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, concurred that budgetary cuts to the Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) program, created by Senator Biden in 1994, have contributed to the rise in violent crime and adversely affected local crime prevention and local law enforcement initiatives.
At the hearing, Senator Biden said, "The federal government has taken its focus off street crime since 9/11, asking law enforcement to do more with less ... fewer police on the street preventing crime and protecting communities means more crime - it's as simple that."
The Brookings Institution published a policy briefing this spring (March 2007 Briefing #158) entitled, "MORE COPS." The authors, Yale economist John Donohue, III and Georgetown economist Jens Ludwig found that the COPS program contributed to the drop in crime during the 1990s and is one of the most cost-effective options for fighting crime. The policy briefing states that each $1.4 billion invested in the COPS program is likely to generate a benefit to society from $6 billion to $12 billion.
Sen. Biden, former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and author of the 1994 Crime Bill, has continuously fought efforts by the Bush Administration to cut back federal funding for local law enforcement. In recent years, the Administration has eliminated billions in guaranteed federal funding for local law enforcement and the FBI has largely transitioned from domestic crime fighting to counter-terrorism, creating a gap that has hindered law enforcement's ability to combat crime. To re-establish the Federal, State and local partnership that helped reduce crime to historic lows in the 1990s, Senator Biden has introduced legislation this year to restore the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and to add 1,000 additional FBI agents to ensure the FBI's capacity to fight crime and combat terrorism. The House of Representatives recently passed the House-version of Sen. Biden's bill to hire an additional 50,000 police officers in communities across America.
The FBI will publish its full annual crime report using data from the United Crime Reporting (UCR) database on Monday, June 4, 2007. The UCR Program was created in 1929 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police to provide reliable, standardized crime statistics for the nation. Each year, nearly 17,000 law enforcement agencies voluntarily provide crime reporting data, and this information is compiled to evaluate and track the levels and types of crimes committed in the county. For over 70 years, the FBI has collected and published these statistics.
Sen. Joe Biden has dedicated his career to fighting crime and protecting families. He is the author of the historic 1994 Crime Bill which helped reduce crime nationwide by funding more than 100,000 police officers through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.