On Monday morning, I attended the General Assembly meeting for the IACP. The keynote speaker was Attorney General John Ashcroft. The AG spoke to a number of issues, primarily reflecting on the previous four years. He cited a number of statistics that show significant decreases in violent crime activities across the United States. Attorney General Ashcroft said that crime is at a 30 year low with respect to violence.
What I found more significant was his observation that the primary reason for the marked reduction in crime was the result of the efforts of neighbors working in their communities with their police to identify crime activity and support efforts to prevent crime.
I watched the local news here Monday night to see what kind of coverage the appearance of Ashcroft and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly received. There was the mention of their presence and some short soundbites but little substance. It will be interesting to see what the local papers have today (Tuesday). I did notice that CSPAN – 2 showed a presentation that the FBI Director Robert Mueller was making to a local L.A. group. His message: how techniques developed to combat terrorism is leading to intelligence on other types of criminal activity, such as gang and drug crimes. This is a big topic in Los Angeles. According to Director Mueller, there are over 100,000 known gang members in Los Angeles alone. Director Mueller also emphasized the need to continued working relationships between the “Feds” and state and local law enforcement.
I can’t speak for this part of the country regarding cooperation between different law enforcement agencies; however, as I’ve said before, we certainly enjoy a good working relationship between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. That relationship is enhanced by the partnerships we have formed locally with our respective communities. The effective channels of communication is a big factor in keeping our communities safe. As I attend various seminars and classes, it’s reassuring to hear that the recommendations toward more crime-free communities are already in place in our neck of the woods.
I’ll end this entry with something Commissioner Kelly said. In describing their preparation for the Republican National Convention earlier this year, he said their success was very dependent on the assistance they received from other neighboring jurisdictions. If a city the size of New York is dependent on their neighbors, it strikes me that we need to continue to strengthen our relationships with our neighbors to develop new ways to better serve the members of our communities.