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Crime and PoliticsBig Government's Erratic Campaign for Law and Order$
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Ted Gest

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195103434

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195103432.001.0001

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Smarter Ways to Fight Crime

Smarter Ways to Fight Crime

(p.249) Chapter 11 Smarter Ways to Fight Crime
Crime and Politics

Ted Gest (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

By 2001, the federal government was spending more than $5.3 billion each year to help states and cities combat crime, on top of the many billions allocated locally. In many instances, the money was going to programs that had not been shown to have much effect on crime. Many ideas have been proved worthwhile, however, and deserve more support. They include cohesive community anticrime campaigns, targeted drug treatment, prevention aimed at young people who show crime tendencies, plugging leaks in the criminal justice system, better news media reporting of crime issues, wiser use of the private sector, and dampening the political rhetoric on crime. As crime has become such a political football, relatively little attention has been paid to serious research on the issue compared with the amount devoted to medicine, for example. The danger in the early 21st century was that as crime rates went down, government would downgrade even further its efforts to determine what worked and did not work in the past four decades. That could be a big mistake if crime rates started again to increase, a distinct possibility in view of downturns in the economy and more young people in the population.

Keywords:   community anticrime campaigns, crime prevention, criminal justice system, drug treatment, news media, political rhetoric, private sector

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