Throughout his tenure, President Bush and his staff have bragged about their efforts fighting crime. In his 2006 State of the Union address, Bush claimed, “Violent crime rates have fallen to their lowest levels since the 1970s.” In May 2006, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the country had “a violent crime rate at its lowest level in three decades.”
But new FBI statistics released Monday show that crime has actually jumped under the Bush administration. Violent crime in 2005 increased at 2.5 percent, the highest rate in 15 years for violent offenses. In his FY 2007 budget, however, Bush proposed cutting local law enforcement funding by a total of 52 percent. Some examples:
— Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Since 1995, COPS has put more than 118,500 new law enforcement officers on the streets. But Bush’s FY 2005 budget proposed cutting funding for the COPS program for the fourth consecutive year, including eliminating all funding for hiring. For FY 2007, Bush is trying to cut COPS by another 76 percent.
— Byrne Justice Assistance Grants: These grants give state and local governments funds to “prevent and control crime and to improve the criminal justice system.” Bush’s FY 2005, 2006, and 2007 budgets proposed eliminating the grants. (Congress hasn’t eliminated them, but has slashed funding each year.)
— COPS Interoperable Communications Grant: Succcessful program awards technology grants to law enforcement and public safety agencies for enhancing communication. Bush proposed eliminating the program in FY 2005, and has again proposed its elimination in FY 2007.
Bush’s motto: Take a bite out of crime (prevention programs).