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On the surface, national crime statistics confirm that violent crime rates have decreased significantly from their peak in the early 1990s. The further reality, however, is that they remain troublingly high.
As computed by both the FBI and non-government organizations such as the Pew Research Center, the past five years have witnessed a noted increase in violent crime. This particularly is the case with regard to homicide rates in major cities, such as St. Louis and Baltimore.
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The bulwark against criminals and their often extremely dangerous behavior is America’s sworn law enforcement community – the men and women “in blue.”
Consistent with the basic structure of our Federal Republic, the vast majority of our country’s approximately 850,000 law enforcement officers are employed not by federal government agencies, but state and local police departments and sheriff’s offices.
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While the figure of 850,000 law enforcement officers may seem large to the average citizen, if you ask any officer “on the street,” regardless of whether he or she serves in an urban or rural area, they are almost certain to tell you that needs remain unmet, in both manpower and equipment.
Unfortunately, the number of sworn law enforcement officers is decreasing, even as rates of violent crime are rising. The Pew Research Center calculates that in the past five years alone, “the total number of working sworn officers has fallen by about 23,000.”
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Pew calculates further that in the past two decades, the number of officers nationally per capita has dropped sharply — from 2.42 officers per 1,000 residents in 1997 to 2.17 per 1,000 population in 2016.
The reasons for such decreases in sworn law enforcement officers are many. And certainly, the situation is not helped by calls from extremist members of the U. S. Congress to “abolish ICE,” or by the anti-law enforcement rhetoric of the “Black Lives...
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