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July 22, 1998

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Now we must take advantage of these good times to strengthen America for the 21st Century. We can begin by strengthening our oldest values --and bringing them to bear on our toughest challenges. When it comes to fighting crime, we have put in place a simple, but powerful, strategy --tougher punishment and better prevention: putting more police on the streets, and taking criminals, guns and drugs off. Our strategy is working. Crime is now at a 25 year low.

President Bill Clinton
July 22, 1998

Today, President Clinton will unveil a new Values-Based Violence Prevention Initiative through the Department of Justice, who will make grants available to 16 community-based collaboratives, including religiously-affiliated organizations, that target youth violence, gangs, truancy, and other juvenile problems by promoting common-sense values and responsibilities.

Linking Stronger Values To A Reduction In Youth Violence. The initial findings of a long-term study in Chicago neighborhoods found that communities with a strong sense of shared values, reinforced in children by adults, had 40 percent less crime than other communities. A community's willingness to work together to reinforce good behavior and maintain order was a better predictor of crime than any other factor, including poverty and race.

A Comprehensive Response To Youth Violence. President Clinton is committed to reducing violence among young people. The Values-Based Initiative he is announcing today builds on existing Administration efforts to reduce juvenile crime. Cities taking part in this initiative are already participating in the President's Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative, Anti-Gang Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Initiative, Youth Firearms COPS Initiative, and the Department of Justice's Weed and Seed Program. Today's initiative will help more cities incorporate law enforcement officers and community-based groups, including religiously-affiliated organizations, to reach out to at-risk youth, instill values, and improve public safety.

Expanding Partnerships With Local Organizations. This initiative will provide grants to community-based groups and collaboratives in 16 cities for gang intervention, truancy prevention, mentoring, drug and alcohol abuse, conflict resolution, job training, and other activities.

Building On A Successful Model. The Values-Based Initiative stems from the successful approach taken in Boston, where local law enforcement joined forces with preachers and other religiously-affiliated organizations to protect youth from violence and give them alternatives to crime. The whole community -- including local and federal prosecutors, probation officers, police, social service workers, and neighborhood ministers -- worked together to combat gangs and prevent juvenile crime. The result has been a dramatic decline in youth crime and a halt to youth homicides with a firearm that lasted over two years.

Fighting For A Tough, Smart Juvenile Crime Bill. The President continues to call on Congress to enact his Anti-Gang and Youth Violence Strategy, to allow more communities to achieve Boston's success in attacking juvenile crime. The President's strategy includes funds for prosecutors, courts, and probation officers to promote and enforce tough standards for juveniles, as well as funds for community-based anti-gang prevention efforts.

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