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Back to Archives | Back to November 2003 Contents 


IACP Juvenile Justice Committee Identifies Programs and Initiatives

During 2003 the IACP committees and sections followed up on Past President Joseph Samuels's call for recommendations of ways that IACP members can work in their communities to be a positive force in the lives of juveniles. From this response, the IACP Juvenile Justice Committee compiled a list of initiatives that may be helpful to other agencies.

The IACP Juvenile Justice Committee believes that police departments need to be involved in the community and establish their involvement on three keystones for law enforcement initiatives and programs:

  • Interact with the community to develop programs that offer a balanced approach to safeguarding the community

  • Develop the competencies of juveniles while holding them responsible for their actions

  • Restore victims of crime to their precrime status

The committee also believes that police chiefs should accept the proposition that all juveniles deserve an opportunity to be redeemed. Chiefs should recognize that the juveniles of today are faced with more challenges and opportunities than ever before. It is our task to safeguard them and to develop their ability to meet the challenges and be in an acceptable position to undertake the opportunities presented to them.

The committee asks, "If not us, who; if not now, when?" The committee encourages all members to undertake the task of making their departments a positive force in the lives of juveniles.

The May 2004 issue of the Police Chief will focus on the challenges faced by police working with juveniles. It will identify programs that get police personnel involved in schools and in the community to help keep juveniles from becoming criminals or victims of crime.

Assistance is available now. Various resources that can be of help to police departments today are available at Among them are recommendations from the 1996 IACP Youth Violence in America Summit, still valued today. To view the recommendations, visit, select Publications, select Research Center Documents, and then select Youth Violence Summit Recommendations.

Descriptions of several local programs and initiatives from around the United States appear on the IACP Web site along with names of contact persons members can call for more information. Members are encouraged to contact their colleagues about the details of the initiatives. To see these programs go to, and select IACP Juvenile Justice Challenge-Report from the Juvenile Justice Committee from the What's New section.

IACP members wishing to communicate with the committee should write to Chief Stephen J. White, Chair, IACP Juvenile Justice Committee, Doylestown Township Police, 425 Wells Road, Doylestown, PA 18901 USA; send an e-mail message to him at; call him at 215-348-4201; or send him a fax at 215-230-0104.

$635 Million in COPS Office Support in 2003

The U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) awarded state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies $635 million in grants to reduce crime during federal fiscal year 2003 (October 1-September 30, 2003). COPS awarded 1,620 grants to 1,577 police departments and sheriffs' offices in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.

Funds from these grants will be used to help law enforcement agencies hire 2,726 full-time and 46 part-time officers to patrol communities and schools; advance community policing; supplement local homeland security overtime budgets; help metropolitan areas implement interoperable communication systems between the various emergency service providers in the same region; help tribal law enforcement make safety enhancements to the infrastructure of their schools; reduce the harmful environmental and social impact of methamphetamine; support the purchase of crime-fighting technology; provide regional training to law enforcement personnel and citizens through a network of Regional Community Policing Institutes; and develop technical assistance resources that can be used to help law enforcement agencies in other parts of the country confronting similar challenges.

COPS supports law enforcement in many ways. In addition to grants, COPS offers technical assistance, a wide variety of training on innovative community policing strategies, and numerous publications that help law enforcement agencies address specific crime problems.

Since 1995, COPS has awarded more than $10.6 billion to more than 13,000 state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. For additional information about COPS programs, or to review the departments awarded grants during federal fiscal year 2003, please visit

Homeland Security Grants from COPS Office

The U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has awarded $59.6 million in homeland security grants to a total of 294 law enforcement agencies from each state. The grants supplement locally budgeted overtime expenses resulting from increased community policing patrols and services related to the ongoing threat of terrorism. The grants will also support programs that increase community safety and security, and reduce public fear.

Grants were awarded to law enforcement agencies based on either the size of the population served or the number of officers the agency employs. COPS received 2,039 applications requesting $238.5 million. Fourteen percent of the applicants, or 294 law enforcement agencies, received grants. Of the $60 million appropriated for this program, $40 million was awarded to law enforcement agencies that serve a population of 150,000 or higher, and the remainder was awarded to agencies that serve fewer than 150,000 citizens.

The grants will supplement officer overtime budgets for one year, and will fund up to 75 percent of the additional overtime costs of training and increased patrols related to homeland security concerns and fluctuations in the national threat advisory level. The grants may also cover overtime expenses resulting from the loss of police officers that are military reservists and have been called to active duty.

For information on the law enforcement agencies receiving the funding, visit

Electronic Crimes Task Forces

With the passage in October 2001 of the USA Patriot Act, the U.S. Secret Service was charged to establish a nationwide network of electronic crimes task forces. The Secret Service's electronic crimes task forces bring together law enforcement, academia, and the private sector. Law enforcement agencies bring criminal enforcement jurisdiction and resources to the task force, while representative from academia and private industry, such as the telecommunications providers, bring a wealth of technical expertise.

The types of investigations handled by the task forces encompass a wide range of computer-based criminal activity. Examples include e-commerce frauds, intellectual property violations, identity crimes, telecommunications fraud, and computer intrusion crimes that affect a variety of infrastructures.

Among the U.S. Secret Service responsibilities is the protection of the U.S. financial infrastructure. Technology and the rapid growth of the Internet have eliminated the traditional borders of financial crimes and provided new opportunities for those who engage in fraud to threaten the financial systems. Telecommunications and finance systems are prime targets for hacker or cyberterrorist intent on causing damage to the economy of the United States. With the task force approach, the Secret Service and its law enforcement partners work closely with members of these industries and the academic communities to share information and identify weaknesses.

For more information, contact the local Secret Service office.

BJS Reports Crime Rate Lowest Since 1973

Violent and property crimes dipped in 2002 to their lowest levels since 30 years ago and have dropped more than 50 percent in the last decade. The annual survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics identified about 23 million crime victims last year, down slightly from the year before and far below the 44 million recorded when studies began in 1973.

The rate of violent crimes-rapes, robberies, and assaults-was about 23 victims for every 1,000 U.S. residents 12 or older last year. That compares with 25 victims per 1,000 in 2001 and 50 in 1993.

For property crimes such as burglary and car theft, the rate was 159 crimes per 1,000 last year, down from 167 the previous year and 319 in 1993.

The study examined property and violent crimes except murder, which is measured separately by the FBI. Preliminary FBI statistics for 2002 released in June-based on reports from police across the country-reported a 0.8 percentage point rise in the murder rate compared with 2001.

Overall crime is down in cities, suburbs and rural areas. The Justice Department survey found continuing decreases in every major property and violent crime, crossing all household income, racial, and ethnic lines.

Experts say a number of factors have driven the crime rate down, including a more mature, less violent illegal drug trade, a drop in gang membership, and even improved home locks and alarms that deter would-be burglars. Some criminologists think tougher prison sentences and more prisons are key factors, because they take more criminals off the streets longer. The Justice Department has reported that at the end of 2001, more than 5.6 million adults-one in every 37 U.S. adults-were either in state or federal prison or had done prison time during their lives.

The Justice Department's figures on nonfatal crimes for 2002 are based on interviews of a nationally representative sample of 76,050 U.S. residents 12 or above. The previously released FBI Uniform Crime Reports, which also showed an overall drop in crime in 2002, is based on crimes reported to state and local police nationwide.

Some highlights from the new Justice Department report:

  • From 2001 to 2002, the number of robberies fell by 19 percent, from 630,690 to 512,490, and is down 63 percent from 1993 to 2002.

  • Households with an annual income of $50,000 or more saw larger drops in property crimes than those with lower incomes from 1993 to 2002.

  • Property crimes have dropped 52 percent since 1993 in rural and suburban areas and 48 percent in cities.

  • Households with annual incomes of $7,500 or less were far more likely to be involved in both violent and property crimes in 2002. For instance, there were about 52 burglaries per 1,000 households at that income level, compared with 32 per 1,000 for those earning between $7,500 and $14,999.

  • Men are more likely to be crime victims than women, blacks more likely than whites or Hispanics, and people below age 24 more likely than those who are older.

  • Urban residents were victims of violent crime more often in 2002, at 33 crimes for every 1,000 residents. That compares with 20 crimes per 1,000 residents in the suburbs and 17 crimes per 1,000 people in rural areas.

For more information visit

3M/IAATI Vehicle Theft Investigation Award Winner Announced

Corporal Edward Gesser of the Prince George's County, Maryland, Police Department was awarded the 3M/International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI) 15th Annual Vehicle Theft Investigation Award for using his knowledge of component part labels to recover a stolen vehicle with counterfeit registration plates and an altered vehicle identification number (VIN). The award recognizes investigators for outstanding investigation efforts in which antitheft VIN labels play a crucial role.

Gesser stopped a vehicle bearing suspicious registration plates that turned out to be made of paper with scanned images of legitimate metal registration plates. He was able to prove the vehicle was stolen by locating both altered and original component part labels.


From The Police Chief, vol. 70, no. 11, November 2003. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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