Street Crime in America

January 22, 1969

Report Outline
Crime as a Public and Political Issue
Problems of Criminal Justice System
New Efforts to Cut Incidence of Crime
Special Focus

Crime as a Public and Political Issue

New Administration's Approach to War on Crime

Street crime is the most visible and usually the most violent of the many varieties of crime in the United States. It instills fear in the citizenry and a new uncertainty in politics. Few of the country's domestic problems are as pervasive, as complex, or as difficult to solve. Government is nevertheless expected to take effective action to remedy, or at least alleviate, the situation.

The Gallup polling organization reported toward the end of the 1968 presidential campaign that the “most emotionally charged” issue before the voters was that of crime and disorder in the cities and on college campuses. In this setting, all three leading presidential candidates spoke out strongly for maintenance of law and order. The Republican platform voiced the party's determination “not to tolerate violence.”

When Richard M. Nixon as President-elect introduced to a national television audience, Dec. 11, the men he had chosen to serve in his Cabinet, he described John N. Mitchell, the Attorney General-designate, as “a man who is as devoted as I am …to waging an effective war against crime in this country.” Evelle J. Younger, Los Angeles district attorney who headed a Nixon task force on law and order, had already predicted that the new President would take a “no nonsense” approach to crime by seeking to broaden the use of wiretapping in law enforcement, by appointing judges who would take a tough line on the rights of suspects, and by asking Congress to approve massive federal aid to local police. When the task force submitted its final recommendations to Nixon on Jan. 11, Younger said: “We are not prepared to accept the proposition that the nation must continue to experience a crime wave.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Feb. 10, 2017  Forensic Science Controversies
Feb. 05, 2016  Restorative Justice
Jan. 30, 2015  Central American Gangs
Aug. 29, 2014  Transnational Crime
Aug. 09, 2013  Sexual Assault in the Military
Oct. 26, 2012  Mexico's Future
Apr. 20, 2012  Criminal Records and Employment
Apr. 19, 2011  Honor Killings
Sep. 2010  Crime in Latin America
Jul. 16, 2010  Gangs in the U.S.
Jul. 17, 2009  Examining Forensics
Apr. 17, 2009  Wrongful Convictions Updated
Feb. 08, 2008  Fighting Crime
Oct. 11, 2002  Corporate Crime
Apr. 04, 1997  Declining Crime Rates
Dec. 10, 1982  Arson: America's Most Costly Crime
May 07, 1982  Helping Victims of Crime
Mar. 13, 1981  Violent Crime's Return to Prominence
Jul. 15, 1977  Crime Reduction: Reality or Illusion
Jan. 19, 1972  Crime of Rape
Jan. 22, 1969  Street Crime in America
Jan. 17, 1968  Burglary Prevention
Sep. 22, 1965  Compensation for Victims of Crime
Feb. 17, 1965  Criminal Justice and Crime Control
Oct. 18, 1961  Control of City Crime
Jun. 20, 1929  Crime and the Courts
Crime and Law Enforcement