Police chiefs should be more outspoken in favor of public investments in crime prevention programs aimed at youth, says Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske. The chief called himself an “unexpected messenger” for crime prevention. Kerlikowske, who is board chairman of the national organization Fight Crime, Invest in Kids, spoke last night at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. He delivered the Patrick Murphy lecture, named for the former police commissioner of New York, Washington, D.C., and Detroit.
Kerlikowske expressed hope that the political tide would turn in favor of gun-control measures supported by law enforcement, given the defeat at the polls this month of many candidates supported by the National Rifle Association. Among items cited by the chief were the repeal of the federal ban on assault-style weapons, curbs on tracing guns used in crime, and background checks for persons who buy firearms at gun shows. Kerlikowske said illegal gun proliferation is a factor in a 2.5 percent violent crime increase recently reported by the nation’s larger cities. He also questioned the large amount of federal spending on antiterrorism equipment, which he said would be difficult to maintain and replace.