Franklin D. Roosevelt

Statement on Signing Crime Bill.

May 18, 1934

These laws are a renewed challenge on the part of the Federal Government to interstate crime. They are also complementary to the broader program designed to curb the evil-doer of whatever class.

In enacting them, the Congress has provided additional equipment for the Department of Justice to aid local authorities. Lacking these new weapons, the Department already has tracked down many major outlaws and its vigilance has spread fear in the underworld. With additional resources, I am confident that it will make still greater inroads upon organized crime.

I regard this action today as an event of the first importance. So far as the Federal Government is concerned, there will be no relenting. But there is one thing more. Law enforcement and gangster extermination cannot be made completely effective so long as a substantial part of the public looks with tolerance upon known criminals, permits public officers to be corrupted or intimidated by them or applauds efforts to romanticize crime.

Federal men are constantly facing machine-gun fire in the pursuit of gangsters. I ask citizens, individually and as organized groups, to recognize the facts and meet them with courage and determination.

I stand squarely behind the efforts of the Department of Justice to bring to book every law breaker, big and little.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Statement on Signing Crime Bill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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