Richard Nixon photo

Remarks Commending the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department on the Decline in the District's Crime Rate.

April 19, 1972

I WOULD like to say a word, if I could, to the whole group.

Ladies and gentlemen, 3 years ago the rate of crime in the District of Columbia was one of the highest in the Nation. As a matter of fact, there were some who were describing Washington, D.C., as the potential crime capital of the world.

We went to work on that problem, and the statistics that have been issued just this week for the month of March show how much has been accomplished: The rate of crime in the District of Columbia has been cut in half in the past 3 years.

The credit for that goes to Chief Wilson for his leadership, and to the officers and men that I have just met, the dedicated people that have worked on the police force of the District of Columbia, and of course, credit also to the citizens of the District who have backed up law enforcement in the best possible way.

Now Washington, D.C., instead of being an example of lawlessness, is one of the safest cities in this country for the millions of tourists who come to this city every year, particularly at this springtime of the year.

Chief, we congratulate you, and will you also congratulate the hundreds of men that I could not meet, for this marvelous achievement.

CHIEF JERRY WILSON. I certainly will,

Mr. President.

It is certainly a pleasure to have these men up here to represent the force, and it is more than just the police force that has done this though, as you well know.

There were a great deal of programs that you instituted in 1970 in terms of court reorganization, in terms of narcotics treatment, but more than anything else, I think the thing that has made the difference to the men has been that we have known unequivocally that we had your support, and also the support of the citizens. A great deal of credit belongs to the citizens--and the atmosphere, I think, that has prevailed in the last couple of years in this city has done much to bring about this crime decline--and I say that without intending to take anything away from the hard work that is done by the members of the department. But we certainly do appreciate the support we have gotten.

THE PRESIDENT. All we can do is ask you to cut it in half again by next year.

CHIEF WILSON. We will try, Mr. President.

Note: The President spoke at 2:50 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House, where Chief Wilson introduced him to the annual award winners in the Metropolitan Police Department. The President spoke without referring to notes.

On the same day, the White House released the transcript of a news briefing on domestic matters including District of Columbia crime statistics by John D. Ehrlichman, Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs, and Egil Krogh, Jr., Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs.

Richard Nixon, Remarks Commending the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department on the Decline in the District's Crime Rate. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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