The Context: Crime in America
During the 1990s and for the first few years of this decade, there were dramatic declines in every category of crime across the country. In recent years, however, there has been an alarming reversal, and in some communities crime continues to be an epidemic:
- Approximately 12,000 people per year are murdered with guns in the United States.
- With the economic downturn, law enforcement leaders are warning that crime could soon rise.
- And police who patrol the streets are faced with criminals who are better-armed than ever before. In 2009, 45 police officers were shot and killed with guns, according to the FBI.1
A Three-Pronged Crime-Fighting Strategy
To reverse this alarming trend, Americans United for Safe Streets supports a three-pronged approach to fighting crime:
Resources for Local Law EnforcementAcross America, the vast majority of policing is done at the local level. It's cities, towns and counties that are bearing the burden of keeping our communities safe. But keeping police on the streets takes resources and too often there has been a lack of support from the federal government. Americans United for Safe Streets supports funding for putting more police on the streets and effective data-sharing to make sure police in every community have the information they need to catch criminals.
21st Century-Crime FightingWith advances in DNA research, ballistics, geo-location, and other emerging technologies, law enforcement have a wealth of new crime-fighting tools they can use to keep their communities safe. Americans United for Safe Streets supports the deployment of advanced technologies to identify the perpetrators of crimes and exonerate the innocent.
Combating Illegal GunsThis year, the Supreme Court of the United States made it crystal clear: law-abiding Americans have a constitutional right to own guns. In the same decision, the Court also ruled that reasonable regulations aimed at keeping guns from criminals are constitutional. With 12,000 Americans gunned down by criminals each year, Americans for Safe Streets supports common-sense measures - like closing the gun show loophole - to shore up the background check system and give police the tools they need to catch gun criminals.
1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Law Enforcement Officers Killed & Assaulted, 2009.