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Crime Went Down over the first half of last year according to this report by the FBI.  The largest drop was for violent crime, which decreased by 3.5 percent nationally. Property crime declined by 2.5 percent. The data indicates that violent crime has fallen for a second straight year. The report was also covered by this AP story.  The story states crime rates began to rise in 2005 and 2006, after the "historic lows during the Clinton administration and continued into President Bush's first years in the White House."  This might lead some to believe that the Clinton administration's law enforcement polices had something to do with the reduced crime rate.  However, there is strong evidence that state and federal enforcement of tough habitual criminal laws is the primary reason. 

S.F. Surveillance Cameras Don't Reduce Violence according to a study reported on in today's Chronicle by Robert Selna and Demian Bulwa.  The study, conducted by the UC Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, found that while property crime dropped by 24% in areas near the cameras, the cameras had no impact on violent crime.  While speculating that the failure might be because violent criminals are often irrational, the study noted several significant flaws in San Francisco's use of the cameras.  Among these are local restrictions on monitoring the cameras in real time.  To protect a suspect's privacy, inspectors must order footage from the cameras after a crime has beebn reported.  Additional problems found by the study included: the very slow frames-per-second speed, due to the city's inadequate data storage; multiple agencies involved in managing the surveillance program; and untrained personnel assigned to monitor the cameras.

High Court to Review Speedy Trial Ruling:  The Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Vermont v. Michael Brillon tomorrow to consider if delays caused by public defenders can be the basis for overturning a conviction.  Associated Press writer John Curran reports that Brillon, a habitual felon who was finally convicted in 2004 for the 2001 assault of his girlfriend, was released by a Vermont court in 2008.  The court reasoned that delays caused by six different public defenders assigned to represent him violated his right to a speedy trial.  Two of the lawyers were fired by Brillon, and another quit after Brillon allegedly threatened his life.  The Vermont Supreme Court overturned the conviction stating the delays were the fault of the state. Forty states and over a dozen organizations are backing the state's appeal of that ruling.  The ACLU and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers are supporting Brillon.

1 Comment

"This might lead some to believe that the Clinton administration's law enforcement polices had something to do with the reduced crime rate. However, there is strong evidence that state and federal enforcement of tough habitual criminal laws is the primary reason."

That seems a little unfair to the Clinton Administration. Whether or not Clinton did everything law and order advocates wanted or whether some of his policies (i.e., appointing liberal federal judges) resulted in crimes being committed that would not have been committed with better decisions, Clinton was not horrible on crime, and he has to get some credit for some of the drop. If the complaints of the criminal lobby are indicative, Clinton's continuation of the "war on drugs" certainly incapacitated a lot of criminals, which, as we all know, reduces crime. While President Bush certainly appointed better judges, it certainly is arguable that crime committed by alien criminals caught Bush's DOJ flatfooted. Obviously, Bush had 9/11 to worry about too, so domestic crime issues may have been less of a priority.

I guess my point is that the post seemed too reflexively anti-Clinton on this point.

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