Crime and Law Enforcement The local, state, and federal governments in the United States all play an important role in fighting crime. Generally, the federal government sets the basic parameters of law enforcement and provides money and other aid to state and local agencies that then enforce the law. The Politics of Crime Some politicians campaign on a “law and order” platform, promising to crack down on crime and impose harsh sentences on those found guilty of committing crimes. Scholars debate the efficacy of government anticrime programs. During the 1990s, for example, violent crime fell dramatically. President Clinton and the Democrats claimed credit, citing the strong economy and the new crime bill passed in the early 1990s. Some critics, in contrast, point to other causes for the dip in crime, including demographics (the age groups most likely to commit violent crimes shrank) and the vast increase in the number of prisons. It is never easy to explain why the crime rate rises or falls.
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