Fighting Crime

Some of our partnerships are making America's streets safer. Legislation that President Clinton fought for is putting 100,000 community police on the streets, and crime in our cities is now at its lowest rate in years. But fighting crime is more than just a matter of brute force. The Justice Department has teamed up with state and local police on some innovation that really works.(14) It is called, appropriately enough, COPS, for Community Oriented Policing Services. Just look what it did for Tampa, Florida: A few years ago, Tampa had a tough crime problem.(15) Then, with a $3.8 million partnership grant from the Department of Justice, a 15-officer COPS squad joined forces with the local police and made a 23 percent dent in every crime category, with drug busts up by 51 percent.(16)

How? First, COPS got out of the patrol cars and mixed in with the community. The Tampa COPS immediately investigate crimes themselves, instead of relaying the information and responsibility to detectives. COPS keep kids in school and off the streets, a tactic that has drastically reduced crime during school hours. COPS hold auctions where kids bid community service hours in exchange for impounded, unclaimed bicycles. COPS organized the area's first Girl Scout troop, and they are starting a Boy Scout troop. COPS organized crime-watch groups made up of volunteers who canvass their communities and help eliminate crimes such as vandalism, street-drinking, curfew violations, and prostitution. For every COPS officer in the community, there are dozens of watchful citizens who take pride in the cleanliness and safety of their community. This is government in partnership with the people.

Another crime-fighting partnership, Operation Safe Home, teams local and state law enforcement with the resources of HUD, Justice, Treasury, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This innovative partnership has not only combated gangs, drugs, and violence, but has also brought together a range of crime prevention initiatives to ensure long-term safety. Since 1994, Operation Safe Home has made a nationwide improvement in the safety of public housing with results like 8,000 arrests and the confiscation of 1,000 weapons as well as $5 million in drugs and drug money.(17)

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