War On Crime ( GOV)

War On Crime ( GOV)

Every candidate for Federal elective office is asked what he or she proposes to do about violent crime. They usually promise more than they or the Federal government can deliver. Poll takers often pose a question such as: “Which presidential candidate do you think will do the most to reduce violent inner-city crime”

Both the candidate who talks about Federal criminal laws reducing local violent crime and the polls miss a major point. The Federal criminal justice system does not have jurisdiction over the vast majority of violent crime. It is not normally a Federal crime to assault, rob, rape, or kill an ordinary citizen.

In 1988 of the 43,550 defendants convicted in Federal court only 2139 were charged with violent crime. That is less than five percent. Of 667,366 convictions in state courts in 1988, nearly 100,000 were for violent crime. Of the more than 300,000 jail inmates, probably a majority are there for crimes of violence. The Federal criminal-justice system processes about two percent of the overall violent criminal defendants. Two percent!

“Police powers” are reserved to the states by our Constitution. We have no Federal police force like the Russian KGB, only investigative agencies that investigate specific

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