The federal government plays a “crucial role” in supporting research and evaluation to learn what works in addressing crime, says Laurie Robinson, former Assistant Attorney for the Office of Justice Programs in the U.S. Justice Department. Robinson yesterday urged the House appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Justice Department to give the Bureau of Justice Statistics a broadened role and to fund “innovation that localities cannot fund on their own.” Robinson, now director of a masters in criminology program at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke at an unusual Justice Department “overview” hearing convened by new committee chairman Alan Mollohan (W-WV). Noting that “we already know a great deal about what can be done to prevent and control crime,” Robinson urged funding of a “What Works Clearinghouse” that summarizes the state of knowledge.
Cuts in federal anticrime spending were criticized in testimony by Joseph Carter, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and police chief of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Carter said “unfortunate and shortsighted” budget reductions “have significantly reduced the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat both crime and terrorism.” Police departments in the U.S. “have far fewer officers and resources than they did in the 1990s,” Carter said. The IACP resident said it is “simply not true” that cuts in anticrime programs have been offset by increases in homeland security spending.