Crime and the candidates

by Diane Dimond on March 10, 2008

Why isn’t there a hue and cry across the land about the crime rate in this country?

If true leadership starts at the top why aren’t any of the presidential candidates talking about crime in America? Why aren’t any of them proposing an anti-crime plan along with their Iraq package, their health care ideas and their Social Security solutions? It is something that affects all of us every single day…and it’s getting worse.

We recently learned that 1 in every 100 Americans is already in prison. More than 2 million people are incarcerated in the United States costing states and the federal government (read that us – you and me) billions – yes, BILLIONS – of dollars every year. How bad does it have to get before the public starts demanding something be done? How much higher must those numbers go before our leaders start talking about, and doing something about, this thing that plagues and drains us all?

It’s something many of us think about on a regular basis: The possibility of violent crime, white collar crime, auto theft, child molesting, home invasion, elder abuse, bank fraud, identity theft. Why don’t we hear these phrases more often from the leaders we elect?

And why isn’t the media asking those who want to lead us about what can be done to lower the crime rate in America?

So much is said about curbing and controlling international terrorism and who isn’t for that? But what about the terrorism of the citizenry by criminals which occurs on a daily basis here in the United States?

Again, how much worse does it need to get before our leaders start to make crime a front-and-center issue?

The mainstream media, of which I was a part for many years, has lost their way somehow. They’ve forgotten to identify the needs and concerns of the masses. They’ve forgotten to pepper our public officials with questions about issues that cause distress.

Now, let me ask you something – honestly. What directly affects your daily life more than the ever increasing rise in our nation’s crime rate?

Let’s say after an extra long day at work you stop for a bite to eat at one of those chain restaurants. The parking lot is crowded with other exhausted overtime workers so you have to park a far distance from the door. When its time to leave and you have to cross that darkened lot to get to your car isn’t it the possibility of being a crime victim that worries you the most?

When you send your child off to catch the school bus, and you’ve bought into their argument that they are old enough to go by themselves, do you worry about anything more than a lurking pedophile?

A recent report by Third Way, a liberal think tank based in Washington DC, concludes there is an upcoming convergence of events that will make our modern day worries about crime seem miniscule. And they report that when the firm Cooper and Secrest Associates asked Americans which threat they took more seriously, 69 % of us chose homegrown violent crime. Only 19 per cent of those asked named an international terrorist threat.

Now, I don’t usually align myself with progressive/liberal groups but their four point assessment of the future makes perfect sense:

1. There are a huge number of incarcerated convicts set to be released in the next five years.
2. There is a bloated group of young people entering their so-called “high crime years.”
3. Organized criminal gangs are recruiting illegal aliens like there’s no tomorrow.
4. The internet is increasingly being used for criminal enterprise and it’s a certainty that there will be more criminals using it in the future.

Crime is an issue that directly affects every American’s daily lives. We’re consumed working golden time to make enough money to pay our bills (in this time of undeclared recession) and buying house alarms, car alarms, insurance policies and cell phones for each of our children – just in case.

Yet the last time I heard a presidential contender asked about crime was right after it was revealed that New York’s Governor Elliott Spitzer had been caught up in a high priced, international prostitution ring. That’s hardly the kind of crime the average American worries about.

Between the candidates and the media I’m not learning a whole lot about what these wanna-be’s for the White House will do to make my daily life safer and freer from crime. And I don’t know who to complain about first – the politicians or the reporters. You?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dave Inkrote July 26, 2008 at 6:02 pm

Having retired from the MD DOC and serving five years as a police officer on the Eastern Shore, I often wonder what it would be like if we really dealt with crime on a more realistic basis. About 80% of the inmate population has some type of addictions problem, often leading to their criminal conduct. The prision already overcrowded and lacking in treatment often only warehouses the criminal until release date and then they become our repeat offender. Prison is not always the answer, yes for those who commit murder, rape, armed robbery etc., but the pettie theft and common street drug offender needs treatment and discipline. The boot camps concept is much cheaper to run and is more successful at dealing with the criminal rather then just locking then up and throwing away the key. More focus needs to be on treatment and not incarceration. Provide treatment, training and a basic education and we could see a reduction in crime. Not everyone will respond to this, but the cost to warehouse far out ways the price we pay when we treat, educate and train someone to make it in an honest living.


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