More than four in five potential voters in 2008 see reducing crime as an important issue for the President and Congress to address, says a survey commissioned by John Jay College of Criminal Justice. As a political issue, crime trails preventing a terrorist attack, providing high-quality pubic education, and promoting economic development. More than half of those surveyed (53 percent) believe crime is a “very serious” problem; 41 percent called it “somewhat serious.” Global Strategy Group surveyed 800 registered voters nationwide between Oct. 29 and Nov. 13. The survey was released in advance of the third annual symposium on crime in America supported by the Harry F. Guggenheim Foundation, which starts today.
Some 64 percent of African Americans consider crime a very serious problem, compared with 60 percent of Latinos and 50 percent of whites. Although an FBI compilation of reports to local police said that crime nationally increased only slightly last year, 32 percent in the new survey said they believe there is “a lot more crime” now than there was one year ago. Among crime types, 72 percent believe that school violence has increased in the last year; 70 percent believe juvenile crime is up, and 67 percent say illegal drug sales or use is up. Asked to choose the one or two best ways of reducing crime, the highest scores were recorded by adding police and tougher sentencing, which got 24 percent each; next in line were stricter gun laws (18 percent), violence prevention for youth (18 percent), and job training for inmates and parolees (16 percent).