The U.S. government is putting big crime reduction gains over the past 15 years in jeopardy by switching too many resources from mainstream policing to counter-terrorism, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton tells the Financial Times. “The federal government is a one-eyed Cyclops – it can only focus on one thing at a time,” he said. “We have to fight a two-front war on terrorism internationally and on crime at home. You cannot fight terrorism at the expense of 16,000 homicides a year.”
Bratton, said Washington had pared down federal police funding to worryingly low levels since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The impressive gains of the 1990s, when cities such as New York more than halved their homicide rates, were being put at risk by “an ideological bias” in Washington that saw policing and law and order as an issue for states rather than the federal government, he said. “I was part of that wonderful revolution in policing in the 1990s,” he said. “We got it right. Then, after 9/11 the federal government wanted to back out of the partnership.” Bratton believes that next year’s presidential candidates will be Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. He said both candidates would take crime-fighting more seriously than has George W. Bush.