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Violent crime increase troubling to cities, says NLC.

City officials say last week's release of a new report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) showing an increase in violent crime--for the second year in a row--only confirms what they are seeing every day in cities of all sizes across America.

"Increasing violent crime is a sad reality for many of our cities, large and small," said NLC President Bart Peterson, mayor of Indianapolis "The FBI data confirm what we already knew: This is not just a big city problem anymore."

The FBI report indicates that violent crime increased 1.3 percent in 2006, with the greatest increases in some of America's smaller cities Robberies, in particular, rose an alarming 6 percent during this period.

Those cities with populations of 250,000 to 499,999 saw a 3.2 percent increase in violent crime and a 8.6 percent increase in robberies. Cities with populations of 25,000 to 49,999 saw increases of 3.2 percent in violent crime and a 9.2 percent increase in robberies.

The increase in robberies was most significant in the West (11.6 percent). Murders rose 0.3 percent overall, and the murder rate in cities with more than one million people rose 6.7 percent.

NLC supports a three-pronged effort to fight crime--enforcement, intervention and prevention--and has called for quick action and funding on the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Improvement Act, which will bring $1.15 billion a year into cities to fight crime, Peterson said. He noted that crime declined in the 1990s when local governments were receiving significant assistance from the federal government. That decline has now been reversed.

"Cities and local leaders are fighting back to halt this increase in crime, but it's clear that these trends point to the need for a renewed federal partnership and additional resources for communities, both in the areas of crime prevention measures and enforcement," Peterson said. "The original COPS law funded more than 118,000 community police officers across 12,900 law enforcement agencies and was a critical factor in driving down crime."

"City leaders are the ones who see the human toll these crimes have on their victims, perpetrators and the entire community," Peterson added.

A recent NLC report, "Vital Partners: Mayors and Police Chiefs Working Together For America's Children and Youth," highlighted 17 cities in the United States that have developed successful civic partnerships to reduce crime and enhance the safety and well-being of young people.

Programs with high success rates combined community input, police contributions, engaged youth and enhanced municipal policies to create partnerships that fostered healthy community relationships
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Author:Appel, Sherry Conway
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 11, 2007
Previous Article:NLC leaders lobby for cities on Capitol Hill.
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