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Statement About National Crime Statistics for the First Quarter of 1972

July 12, 1972

THE Attorney General reported today that serious crime in the first quarter of this year showed the lowest percentage gain in 11 years--a rise of only one percent over the same period last year--and that in 80 of the largest cities the number of serious crimes was actually reduced. This represents truly significant progress in this Administration's determination to roll back the wave of crime which swept our Nation in the 1960's. It is the best news yet on the crime front.

The right of all citizens to feel safe on the streets and secure in their homes is fundamental to individual liberty and national progress.

It is a right on which this Administration has placed a new and major emphasis. We have dramatically increased Federal assistance for State and local authorities. Where the Federal Government has direct enforcement authority, such as in organized crime, drug trafficking, and in the District of Columbia, we have both strengthened the laws and poured more men and money into enforcement. Through court appointments, conferences on the judiciary and on corrections, and other Administration actions, law enforcement has been given additional vigor.

Another key ingredient in the crime fight has been the development of a new, less permissive public attitude toward crime and criminals. The American public now is fully awake to the social menace of crime, and fully determined that criminals must be defeated if America is to make continued social progress.

This one-percent rise for the first quarter of this year compares with a 6-percent increase for the same period in 1971, 13 percent in 1970, and 10 percent in 1969. The increase from 1960 to 1968 totaled an alarming 122 percent. It is clear from this that we at last are making real headway against the forces of crime.

This can mean that we are ending the first phase of our battle to turn back crime in America: the phase in which we had to stop it from going up in order to start it going down.

These first quarter figures bring us to the one-yard line in that effort--so let us join together to make 1972 the year in which we score that first goal. Let us make this the year of victory in our battle to stop the rise in crime, so that from this year on we at last can begin measuring not the decrease in the rate of increase, but the rate of decrease, period. What was achieved in those 80 cities where crime was reduced must now be our goal for the Nation.

Together, we can do this. Therefore, I call on all of our law enforcement officers-Federal, State, and local--to keep up their valiant battle against crime in our communities. I call on all citizens to give them their full support, and I pledge the total support of the Federal Government. Together, let us show that the day of the criminal is past in America, and the day of the citizen is here.

Note: The statement was released at San Clemente, Calif.

Richard Nixon, Statement About National Crime Statistics for the First Quarter of 1972 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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