Remarks in New York City: "Toward Freedom From Fear"
In the last seven years while the population of this country was rising some ten per cent, crime in the United States rose a staggering 88 per cent. If the present rate of new crime continues, the number of rapes and robberies and assaults and thefts in the United States today will double — by the end of 1972.
That is a prospect America cannot accept. If we allow it to happen, then the city jungle will cease to be a metaphor. It will become a barbaric reality, and the brutal society that now flourishes in the core cities of America will annex the affluent suburbs. This nation will then be what it is fast becoming — an armed camp of two hundred million Americans living in fear.
But, to stop the rising crime rate and to reduce the incidence of crime in America, we must first speak with a new candor about its causes and cures.
Poverty Not the Cause
We cannot explain away crime in this country by charging it off to poverty — and we would not rid ourselves of the crime problem even if we succeeded overnight in lifting everyone above the poverty level. The role of poverty as a cause of the crime upsurge in America has been grossly exaggerated — and the incumbent Administration bears major responsibility for perpetuation of the myth.
On October 16, 1964, the President said that, "The war on poverty which I started — is a war against crime and a war against disorder." If the President genuinely accepted that proposition, the near 50 per cent increase in crime rate since 1964 would be adequate proof of the utter failure of the government's war on poverty.
But the war on poverty is not a war on crime; and it is no substitute for a war on crime. It is certainly true that rising prosperity will gradually reduce the number of those below the poverty level, and eliminate many of the conditions in which crime is likely to flourish.
But poverty cannot begin to explain the explosion of crime in America. In recent years, this nation has grown wealthier and its riches have been more widely distributed than in any other country in the world. And yet crime has been going up about three times as rapidly as the GNP.
And poverty tells us nothing about the enormous increases in juvenile crime and drug abuse by teenagers in the affluent suburbs of America.
Too Often, Crime Does Pay
The success of criminals in this country plays a far greater role in the rising crime rate than any consideration of poverty. Today, an estimated one-in-eight crimes results in conviction and punishment.
If the conviction rate were doubled in this country, it would do more to eliminate crime in the future than a quadrupling of the funds for any governmental war on poverty.
In short, crime creates crime — because crime rewards the criminal. And we will reduce crime as we reduce the profits of criminals.
There is another attitude that must be discarded if we are to wage an effective national war against this enemy within. That attitude is the socially suicidal tendency — on the part of many public men — to excuse crime and sympathize with criminals because of past grievances the criminal may have against society. By now Americans, I believe, have learned the hard way that a society that is lenient and permissive for criminals is a society that is neither safe nor secure for innocent men and women.
Justice for the Guilty, Too
One of the operative principles of a free society is that men are accountable for what they do. No criminal can justify his crimes on the basis of some real or imagined grievance against his society. And our sympathy for the plight or the past of a criminal cannot justify turning him loose to prey again upon innocent people.
In the preamble of the Constitution of the United States, this country set it as a goal to "establish justice" in these states. Just as justice dictates that innocent men go free, it also means that guilty men pay the penalty for their crimes. It is that second part of justice to which the nation must begin to address itself in earnest.
In the course of presenting these proposals for dealing with the crime problem in America, I have not dealt at all with the urban disorders that have become commonplace in our great cities. Riots are a special problem, a problem apart from the crisis of daily crime in America.
In terms of dollars and cents the toll of the riots is next to nothing compared to the toll of street crime or even the take of organized crime.
But, riots offer their own challenge to the future existence of our society, and that challenge is different than the menace represented in the 88 per cent increase in crime in seven years. Consequently, I have dealt with the riots as a separate problem in other statements.
No Sense of Urgency
The primary responsibility for dealing with that 88 per cent figure continues to rest — as it should — with the local and state government. We want no centralized Federal police force in this country. But crime has become a first priority domestic crisis, a distinct threat to the social order, and it should be a matter of the highest Federal urgency. That urgency has not been reflected in this Administration's actions or recommendations.
Crime today is increasing almost nine times as rapidly as the population.
The Administration in Washington seems to have neither an understanding of the crisis which confronts us nor a recognition of its severity. As a result, neither the leadership nor the necessary tools have been provided to date to enable society's peace forces to regain the upper hand over the criminal forces in this country.
The statistics and evidence are there for all to see.
The last five years have been the halcyon days of organized crime. Gross earnings from illicit gambling, prostitution, narcotics and loan-sharking, have grown prodigiously. One reliable authority places the figure in the neighborhood of $50 billion annually.
As for street crime, for every two major crimes committed in the United States when President Johnson took office in 1963 — there are three committed today — and if the present trend continues, there will be six committed by the end of 1972.
These are the dimensions and the elements, the hard facts and the stark realities of the crime crisis to which this Administration's response has been lame and ineffectual.
Organized crime is the tapeworm of the American society. In recent years it has prospered as never before and broadened its influence in government and legitimate business and unions. The absence of an adequate response at the national level — to this national threat — is a glaring failure of the present Administration.
One of the most effective groups of men within government combating this kind of criminal activity over the years has been the Organized Crime Section of the Department of Justice. Yet, when President Johnson took office, the number of man days spent in field investigating by members of the OCS, the number of man days spent testifying before grand juries, and the number of man days spent in court all suddenly decreased between 50 and 75 per cent.
This wholesale de-escalation of the Justice Department's war against organized crime has not to this day been adequately explained.
Equally puzzling is the Administration's adamant opposition to the use — against organized crime — of the same wiretap and electronic surveillance the government employs to safeguard the national security. Not only does the Administration oppose the use of these weapons against crime, it has asked Congress to forbid that use by law. Such legislation would be a tragic mistake.
"Give Us the Tools . .
Organized crime is a secret society. By denying to State and Federal law enforcement agencies the tools to penetrate that secrecy, the President and the Attorney General are unwittingly guaranteeing the leaders of organized crime a privileged sanctuary from which to proceed with the systematic corruption of American life.
New York County District Attorney Frank Hogan, who has probably convicted more racketeers than any other man in America, has said that wiretapping is:
"the single most valuable weapon in law enforcement's fight against
organized crime . . . Without it, my own office could not have convicted
Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Jimmy Hines, Louis "Lepke" Buchalter,
Jacob "Gurrah" Shapiro, Joseph "Socks" Lanza, George Scalise, Frank
Erickson, John "Dio" Dioguardi, and Frank Carbo."
An overwhelming majority of the President's own blue ribbon crime commission recommended enabling legislation for the use of wiretap. The Judicial Conference, consisting of ranking Federal judges from across the nation, and headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, has approved such legislation. And the Supreme Court has left the door open to a carefully drawn wiretap measure with proper safeguards.
Safeguards Against Abuse
The Senate is currently considering such a proposal — drawn to conform meticulously to the Supreme Court decisions. That proposal would authorize the use of electronic surveillance on a court order, in the nature of a search warrant, showing probable cause. The court order would be limited to major crime cases, and specified cases involving the national security.
It would be limited as to time, persons and place. Any extraneous evidence gathered by the eavesdrop device would be inadmissible in court and would have to be held in confidence under pain of both civil and criminal penalties. Special precautions would be taken to safeguard those communications regarded by the law as privileged, such as those between husband and wife, doctor and patient, lawyer and client, and priest and penitent. In addition, the bill would outlaw all electronic surveillance by private citizens.
Yet, despite these carefully drawn precautions, the President defends his opposition to wiretapping in major crime cases with the astonishing assertion that "the principle that a man's home is his castle is under new attack."
"Nonsense in its purest form" was the retort by the Washington Star which continued: "This is a comment which shakes our faith in (1) whether the President knows what he is talking about in his anti-crime speeches, or (2) whether he will ever support the measures—wiretaps and the like —that are essential investigative tools if we are ever going to wipe out crime — especially organized crime."
Five Immediate Steps
There are other steps which Congress can take independently to strengthen the peace forces in our society against the forces of organized crime. Some of these recommendations have been endorsed by the President's Commission on Crime.
(1) Infiltration of honest business: Congress should enact legislation making it a Federal crime to invest in legitimate business either money which has been gathered from illegal racket activities or money that has not been reported for income tax purposes. Such measures would focus the tax enforcement machinery on the problem of organized crime.
(2) Anti-smuggling: Congress should authorize substantial increase in the number of Customs Bureau officials. In the last decade while the number of customs officials has risen 4 per cent, the number of people entering the country has risen 50 per cent and the number of aircraft 100 per cent. These would be an effective deterrent to the import of narcotics, a multi-million dollar annual item in the income statement of organized crime.
(3) Permanent watchdog: Congress should establish a permanent Joint Congressional Committee on Organized Crime.
(4) More lawmen: Congress should authorize whatever Federal personnel are necessary to carry out the new responsibilities under these pieces of recommended legislation.
(5) Immunity power: Congress should enact the Republican-proposed organized crime immunity statute. Once granted immunity from prosecution based on his testimony, a witness would be required to testify before a grand jury or at trial, or face jail for criminal contempt. This would be another and an effective legal tool with which to cut through the curtain of secrecy that envelops organized crime. Witness immunity would make it possible to get to the higher echelons of the crime syndicate.
These are a few of the steps that can and should be taken if we are to make realistic rather than rhetorical progress in uprooting the infrastructure of organized crime. Yet, both the President and his Attorney General, Mr. Clark, who have the principal responsibility for leading the war on organized crime are either indifferent to or in active opposition to a majority of these measures.
That attitude has made of the President's proposal to the Congress the kind of compromise legislation that organized crime can live with. It has called into question the seriousness of the President's designation of Mr. Clark to be his "Mr. Big" in the war against national crime.
Alerting the People
There is also a need at the national level to awaken and educate the American people to the extent of the threat within that comes from organized crime. The average American — as well as the Attorney General of the United States — seems tragically unaware of the magnitude and immense impact of organized crime upon his society.
This menace which Mr. Clark astonishingly termed a "tiny part" of the crime picture in the United States was more accurately described by his predecessor, Mr. Katzenbach, as constituting "nothing less than a guerilla war against society."
How is the average American affected?
The businessman pays higher insurance rates because of the arson committed under the instructions of organized crime; he loses millions in bad debts annually because of fraudulent bankruptcies. Union workers are cheated out of their just wages when the proxies of organized crime take over and corrupt their unions, arrange sweetheart contracts, exploit mammoth pension funds and intimidate the membership. Organized crime cheats the consumer by its corruption of the free enterprise system. With its gigantic earning power it is able to take over individual businesses, influence prices, and act as unfair competition for honest business and honest labor.
According to Congressman Richard Poff of Virginia, one of the most knowledgeable men in the Congress on the subject, organized crime controls a "reservoir of wealth unmatched by any financial institution in the country."
Crime's War on the Poverty-Stricken
At the same time that the President has asked for a $2 billion appropriation to fund the War on Poverty for one year, organized crime earns an estimated $3.5 billion annually from the numbers racket — a racket that exploits, not the affluent, but the urban poor. Organized crime is taking three dollars in gambling revenues from the urban poor for every two that is put into the poverty program by the nation's taxpayers.
Last year, while the Small Business Administration made some $50 million in loans, the take from loan-sharking amounted to many times that sum. The narcotics traffic in this country, much of it in the urban centers of poverty, netted an estimated $350 million for organized crime last year — the precise sum spent for the Head Start Program.
Organized crime is also directly and deeply involved in street crime. One estimate is that some 50 per cent of the street crime in some of our major cities is the work of addicts attempting to support their habit — and traffic in illegal narcotics is a major enterprise of organized crime.
But organized crime, though a multi-billion dollar enterprise and a major contributing factor to street crime, cannot alone explain the 88 per cent increase in muggings, robberies, rapes and assaults over the past seven years. Another contributing cause of this staggering increase is that street crime is a more lucrative and less risky occupation than it has ever been in the past. Only one of eight major crimes committed now results in arrest, prosecution, conviction and punishment — and a twelve per cent chance of punishment is not adequate to deter a man bent on a career in crime. Among the contributing factors to the small figure are the decisions of a majority of one of the United States Supreme Court.
The Miranda and Escobedo decisions of the High Court have had the effect of seriously hamstringing the peace forces in our society and strengthening the criminal forces.
From the point of view of the peace forces, the cumulative impact on these decisions has been to very nearly rule out the "confession" as an effective and major tool in prosecution and law enforcement.
Justice White, in his dissent in the 5-4 Miranda decision, identified judicial prejudice against the use of confession as the bedrock upon which the majority decision was erected.
"The obvious underpinning of the Court's decision is a deep-seated distrust of all confession . . .the result adds up to a judicial judgment that evidence from the accused should not be used against him in any way, whether compelled or not. This is the not so subtle overtone of the opinion — that it is inherently wrong for the police to gather evidence from the accused himself."
From the point of view of the criminal forces, the cumulative impact of these decisions has been to set free patently guilty individuals on the basis of legal technicalities.
The tragic lesson of guilty men walking free from hundreds of courtrooms across this country has not been lost on the criminal community.
Striking the Balance
The balance must be shifted back toward the peace forces in our society and a requisite step is to redress the imbalance created by these specific court decisions. I would thus urge Congress to enact proposed legislation that — dealing with both Miranda and Escobedo — would leave it to the judge and the jury to determine both the voluntariness and the validity of any confession. If judges and juries can determine guilt or innocence, they can certainly determine whether a confession is voluntary and valid. The rule of reason and justice should replace the Dickensian legalisms that have been obtained as a result of recent Supreme Court decisions.
(In Title III of the omnibus crime bill now pending in the Senate, there is a proposal to correct the imbalance resulting from these decisions; that proposal deserves passage despite the vigorous opposition of the Attorney General.)
The barbed wire of legalisms that a majority of one of the Supreme Court has erected to protect a suspect from invasion of his rights has effectively shielded hundreds of criminals from punishment as provided in the prior laws.
If it should become impossible to draw such legislation to the satisfaction of the High Court, then consideration should be given to amending the Constitution. Involved here is the first civil right of every American, the right to be protected in his home, business and person from domestic violence, and it is being traduced with accelerating frequency in every community in America.
Leaning too far Backward
Wade and Gilbert are two other decisions of the Supreme Court, the extension of which have added to the problems of effective law enforcement. Wade and Gilbert, for the first time, ruled that in a line-up confrontation between witness and accused, the absence of a lawyer for the accused could, of itself, render the identification inadmissible in court.
My own view coincides with that of the dissenting minority, who expressed incredulity at the notion that a lawyer's presence at a line-up can somehow be helpful to the quality of the witness' identification. But Wade and Gilbert were carried to an almost ridiculous, if logical, extreme in U.S. versus Beasley.
In the latter case, even an accidental, on-the-street confrontation between, in this case, victim and accused, made identification of the accused inadmissible — because of the absence of a lawyer.
(In the Beasley case, police observed three men beating and robbing an elderly man on the streets of Washington, D.C. When they approached, the assailants fled leaving their victim behind. Police gave chase and apprehended one man, and returned with him to the scene to aid the victim and radio for help. There was thus an inevitable confrontation between the suspect and the victim, and the former was positively identified by the latter as one of his assailants. The identification made on the spot was ruled as inadmissible evidence because the alleged assailant did not have an attorney present when he confronted the victim on the street, immediately following the crime.)
It is decisions such as this, suppressing evidence prior to trial, that underscore the merit of the proposal of Congressman Railsback of Illinois, now before Congress.
Currently, a defendant can appeal his conviction to a higher court, if the case can be made that illegal evidence has been used against him. The prosecution, however, except in limited cases, has no similar right to appeal a decision to prohibit the introduction of certain evidence at a trial.
Congressman Railsback's proposal would remedy this situation; it would give government the same right to appeal these rulings now guaranteed the accused. The President's Crime Commission has endorsed this proposal; it would make for more effective prosecution; it would reduce the number of guilty men walking out of courtrooms on technicalities; it deserves passage in this session.
These decisions by a majority of one of the Supreme Court have had a far-reaching impact in this country. They have been the subject of controversy; they were the focus of vigorous dissent on the part of the minority. And I think they point up a genuine need — a need for future Presidents to include in their appointments to the United States Supreme Court men who are thoroughly experienced and versed in the criminal laws of the land.
Strengthening the Peace Forces
A second major deficiency of the "peace forces" in this country is in the number and quality of the men who man the first line of defense—the police.
Today, two-thirds of the community police forces in the country are undermanned. This year there will be 50,000 vacancies for police officers in the United States. To improve the caliber and increase the number of men who volunteer to fill those vacancies, the Federal and State as well as the municipal governments have a role to play.
The primary reason why there are not more and better police officers in our great cities today is quite simply that the rewards — economic and personal — of being a police officer have diminished sharply in the last two decades.
For many years, these men have been in effect increasingly subsidizing the communities which they serve — by accepting a wage rate that gradually fell behind other professions. From 1939 to 1966 while the real income of manufacturing employees in New York increased on the average of 100 per cent, that of a New York City patrolman increased by 20 per cent.
You cannot attract first-class men to do the difficult and complex and dangerous job of police work — if you simply give them a gun and $100 a week — which is the median beginning salary for patrolmen in our greater cities.
The responsibility for rectifying this situation rests largely with the municipalities and the people who live in them. They must be willing to pay the salaries to attract the kind of men they want standing between their property and family and the rising crime rate.
The Blue "Presence"
There is a considerable body of evidence to show that a dramatic rise in the number of patrolmen is followed by an equally dramatic drop in the rate of crime. The New York Subway system is a case in point — where the presence of a patrolman on every train at night brought a reduction of 60 per cent in the epidemic of juvenile terrorism in the first three months they were there. The lesson could be applied to dozens of other cities and communities across the country.
(Along these same lines, a judicious reallocation of existing police manpower can often have the same impact on crime as a numerical increase in the force. Systems Analysis can be used to reassign patrolmen from beats and areas where they are not needed to trouble spots. This is one way modern science has been and should be put at the service of justice.)
It would be difficult to exaggerate the urgency of the need for greater police presence — or the danger to the social order if we do not get it. To those who speak and write about that startling 88 per cent increase in crime, the figure is an ominous portent to our society.
Hardest Hit: the Poor
But it is among the urban poor, the silent victims of most of the reported crime and almost all of the unreported crime that these statistics have already been translated into a brutal society. According to the President's own Commission on Civil Disorders, there are cities in this country where the crimes of violence run 35 times as high in the areas of poverty as they do in the areas of affluence. Last fall, a Harlem Pastor spoke out in anguish.
"Crime is at its worst; the citizens fear to venture out after dark. Church members are afraid to go out to their meetings at night. The law seems to be in the hands of the muggers and robbers. There's panic among the people."
It would be a dangerous delusion to think that we can either "establish justice" in this country or re-establish peace in the central city, until those who are not the victims of this crime crisis are as indignant as those who are.
We are trifling with social dynamite if we believe that the young people who emerge from these brutal societies in the central cities will come out as satisfied and productive citizens. It is too often the case that "those to whom evil is done do evil in return."
The State can assist the local community in improving the quality of its law enforcement agencies in a variety of ways. One of the most effective would be to use incentives to accelerate the trend toward larger and more efficient police units.
Today, there are more than 420,000 people involved in police work employed by 40,000 separate agencies. Many of these 40,000 agencies are tiny and inefficient municipal departments wholly inadequate to the tasks assigned them. Consolidation of many of these departments and their merger into city-wide or metropolitan-wide forces would give the peace forces a jurisdictional range and a level of states, we would strengthen law enforcement at a level at which it could deal more effectively with a criminal community that possesses a mobility and strength undreamed of a few years ago.
The shift in emphasis from direct grants to local departments to block grants to the states was written into the Law Enforcement Assistance and Criminal Justice Act of 1967 on the floor of the House largely through the efforts of the Republican leadership there.
In the Upper House, Senator Roman Hruska of Nebraska, one of the most knowledgeable and effective sponsors of anti-crime legislation on the Hill, along with the Minority Leader Senator Dirksen, has worked to have his block grant approach written into the final version of the bill — as it should be.
Setting an Example
There is another area where the Federal Government can not only play a leading role — but where it has the opportunity to make a dramatic demonstration of its concern with the problem of crime, its commitment to new solutions and the efficacy of its proposals. That is in Washington, D.C. — the nation's capital where the authority of the Federal Government is great and its prerogatives many.
Today, Washington, D.C., should be a model city as far as law enforcement is concerned — a national laboratory in which the strength is more commensurate with the criminal forces — which ignore state-lines, let alone the lines that divide tiny municipalities.
The Federal Government can play a leading role as well in furthering this objective of consolidating and reducing the number while improving the quality of law enforcement agencies in this country.
To do so, however, it will have to shift its emphasis from direct grants to local governments, to block grants to the states. The former approach puts the Federal Government squarely into what must and should remain a local function — law enforcement. Direct grants for local police departments could bring domination and control and the door could be opened to the possibility of a Federal police force — a prospect we should avoid. Secondly, the block grant approach to the states will enable them to determine the priorities in the allocation of resources; and that, too, is as it should be. Third, this approach would strengthen the statewide police forces which are, by and large, efficient and professional organizations.
It would also enable the state to strengthen its own investigative and crime laboratory facilities, its intelligence, and records centers — which could be put at the disposal of local police. By providing the assistance to the latest in crime prevention and detection can be tested and the results reported to a waiting nation. The record, however, is otherwise.
If across America the peace forces in city after city and state after state have been gradually giving up ground to the criminal forces — in Washington, D.C., the forces of peace are in disorganized retreat. Since 1960 crime in the nation's capital has increased by 100 per cent.
Again, however, the Administration has been slow to recognize the developing threat. It was only after severe criticism and intense public pressure that the D.C. crime bill was finally signed into law by the President in 1967.
The Prison Problem
No national program for turning back the rising tide of crime can succeed if we continue to ignore a primary headwater — the prisons of America. No institution within our society has a record which presents such a conclusive case of failure as does our prison system.
A recent FBI study of some 18,000 convicts released in 1963 revealed that fully 55 per cent had been re-arrested for new offenses by June 30 of 1966. Of those persons arrested on a new charge within 30 months, 67 per cent had been given a mandatory release by a penal institution.
In short — whether one believes that the purpose of a prison is to punish the criminal or to deter him from future crime or to rehabilitate him and guide him away from a career in crime — by either standard our prison system is a failure.
The American prison system needs to undergo a major overhaul — to be changed from a primary cause of the crime problem in this country into a partial cure. Stated simply and directly, the criminal rate in the United States would be a good deal lower if convicted felons were properly trained and equipped for reassimilation by the outside world.
Both Federal and State Governments share equally in the responsibility for changing our prisons into something other than an ever-normal pool of replacements for the criminal community.
Since, however, the Federal prison system houses only 10 per cent of the penitentiary population of about 200,000 its role will primarily be one of example, of assistance to the states, and of clearing legislative roadblocks to effective prison reform.
Recognizing a Mistake
During the depression years of the 1930's, with millions of Americans jobless, many pieces of Federal legislation were enacted calling for discrimination against person-made goods. It was assumed that conscripted labor inside a prison could produce goods at a far cheaper rate and thus enjoy an unfair competitive advantage over both free labor and free enterprise.
This legislation was always questionable, and one certain effect has been to deny to thousands of convicted men the type of work experience that might have given them the essential opportunity to find a job when they left prison. It is time that these existing legal barriers against providing convicts with the type of training and work that will give them a viable employment when they leave — should be removed. According to the President's own Crime Commission, prison labor is no threat to free labor today.
Secondly, of the 120,000 people employed in correction today, five of six are employed in custodial or administrative work, leaving only some 24,000 in treatment activities to handle a combined jail and prison population of 400,000 and a total of some 1.3 million who pass through our system each year. That 24,000 figure includes all the psychiatrists, teachers, psychologists and social workers — and if we are serious about changing the results of prison life — then we have to be serious about increasing that number.
More Prison Reforms
The necessity of other major reforms is equally obvious. A study of the prison population reveals that 50 per cent of it has only a grammar school education or less. Except for New York and California, prison education is provided by inmates — a majority of whom lack college degrees and many of whom are themselves without a high school diploma.
The number of parole officers dealing with that great segment of convict population that has been returned to society is also inadequate to its job. We are thousands of men away from achieving what is considered the desirable ratio of one parole officer to every 37 parolees.
To effect these reforms, to provide the personnel in terms of teachers, parole officers, psychiatrists, social workers, to change the American prison system from a pool of replacements for the criminal community into a system of effective correction and rehabilitation will take money. It will require millions of dollars — whether those dollars are taken out at the State or Federal level.
It will take not only more dedicated people, but new ideas and new resources and new tools if we are going to rebuild these broken careers and re-equip these men and women for useful lives.
It will require further the cooperation of both State and Federal Government, for the unreconstructed criminal who walks out of a Missouri or Illinois prison, becomes a threat to the community he visits, wherever he goes in the United States.
These are not all of the steps that should be taken. But here, in these proposals, I believe a beginning can be made toward removing from this nation the stigma of a lawless society.
Right to a Speedy Trial
There are other areas as well where major reform is needed. The judiciary is one of them. In community after community in this country there are great backlogs of criminal cases. Not only does this delay in prosecuting serve as an injustice to the innocent, it does a grave injustice to society by delaying too long the imposition of penalties which are major deterrents to crime.
There is a need for vastly increased resources in crime research. Today, one-half of one per cent of the law enforcement budgets of the State and Federal government — a paltry $20 million — is being spent on crime research.
The potential for law enforcement research is enormous.
Space age tools are available to deal with modern crime. Today, we are still working with the forensic toxicology and forensic medicine of thirty years ago. There are promising areas such as olfactronics waiting to be explored, and tools such as the "voice print" waiting to be exploited.
End of a Lawless Society
As this brief statement indicates, there is no shortage of ideas or programs or tools or potential laws to deal with crime in this country. The only shortage is a shortage of leadership that will place this problem in the first priority of American business.
If the American people are willing to commit themselves to pay the necessary price to restore peace to the society, it can be done. If they are willing to commit themselves to the proposition that any man who disobeys the law pays the penalty the law exacts, then we can begin to turn this crime wave back.
We can put an end to an urban situation where the infirm, the old and the women refuse to visit their parks or enjoy the entertainment and good life a city can offer because they are afraid. We can reduce crime by making it a more hazardous and less rewarding occupation.
In connection with the President's Crime Commission Report, a poll was taken of average Americans. It found that of those polled 43 per cent were afraid to be on the streets at night; 35 per cent would not speak to strangers, and 21 per cent used cars and taxis at night to avoid mass transit.
Those are not the statistics of a Great Society; they are the statistics of a lawless society — they are statistics we must and will change.
APP NOTE: From section four of the volume "Nixon Speaks Out" titled, "Crusade Against Crime".
Richard Nixon, Remarks in New York City: "Toward Freedom From Fear" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/326773