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Crime Technology Event

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Tuesday, May 19, 1998

President Clinton and I have no more important obligation than ensuring that every American can live in safety. That's why, under President Clinton's leadership, we have pursued a comprehensive anti-crime strategy focussed on giving Americans the confidence of security --on the streets and in their homes.

I'm proud to say that we've come a long way. Just yesterday, we learned that crime has dropped for the past six years in a row -- the longest period of decline since President Eisenhower. Overall, crime is down to its lowest levels in more than a quarter of a century.

None of this happened by accident. It took uncommon valor and bravery from our nation's law enforcement officers, it took a renewed spirit of community involvement all over America, and it took a concerted strategy to battle crime wherever we find it. Since we took office, President Clinton and I have worked hard to fight the forces of crime all over America. We've put more police on the streets and taken gangs, guns, and drugs off the streets. We introduced "Three Strikes -- You're Out" to get career criminals off the street and behind bars for life. And today we're taking another step in giving law enforcement greater access to 21st Century crime-fighting technology so they can do their jobs better and faster.

I've seen this new technology, and I'm happy to report to you: it works. Two months ago, in Los Angeles, I visited LAPD headquarters, where police officers are already using 21st Century technology. I saw new equipment that lets officers do their detective work from out in the field and report in from the squad car instead of having to travel back to the station house. By using such technology, police officers can spend more of their time on what counts --catching criminals and preventing crimes.

Last month, I saw 21st Century crime-fighting technology at work at police headquarters in New York City. There the Compstat computer system fosters accountability by letting police track down crime -- when it's happening and where it's happening -- so they can get resources there effectively in real-time.

If we're going to fight the criminals of the future, we need to develop the crime fighting tools of the future. We must put the best possible tools in the hands of our law enforcement community so they can identify, apprehend, and prosecute criminals -- swiftly and effectively.

For too long crime victims have seen criminals go free due to inadequate or incomplete methods of gathering evidence. Sophisticated technology makes it harder for criminals to get away with their crimes. It can be an important deterrent and also a powerful means of making certain that those who do commit crimes are held accountable and punished. The victims of crime have suffered enough -- they deserve sure and certain justice. And we all deserve a justice system which catches criminals -- and gets them off the streets for good.

That's why today, I am announcing a new partnership between the Department of Energy, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to provide 21st Century crime fighting technology to state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies. During the Cold War, the Department of Energy's National Labs created the technology to battle evil around the world. Today, with this partnership, we will harness new technology to battle the forces of evil right here at home.

All across America, as we just saw in the demonstration, the latest technology is helping our detectives crack the toughest cases and crack down on criminal behavior. With today's announcement, we're giving our law enforcement partners -- at all levels -- the support they need to make our streets, our schools, and our homes safer for all Americans. Thank you.

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