Kerry Proposes New Program Against Gang Violence

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Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry says he would adopt a zero-tolerance policy for gang violence and spend more on programs aimed at steering urban youth away from crime, reports the Associated Press. Kerry announced his plan today in Detroit at a convention of the Urban League, which will hear tomorrow from President Bush. In prepared remarks, Kerry said: “We can do so much better, better for the communities that are living in fear because of gang violence, and better also for these young people who have a real future if we reach out to them. We need to send young people a strong, clear message that there is another path, and if they are willing to take that path, we will be there with them with job training, job opportunities, and drug treatment.”

AP says Kerry’s increased investment in fighting gangs would be small: $400 million over 10 years. Kerry’s campaign cited federal statistics that showed gang-related murders up 40 percent between 2000 and 2002. The campaign criticized the president for proposing cuts to a Clinton-era community police program that could prevent gang violence. Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt said spending for law enforcement has risen dramatically under Bush. “Gang violence is a problem in the United States and John Kerry could have given a thoughtful speech and talked about the problem is a thoughtful way. … He’s simply interested in launching political attacks.”


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