Federal Crime Control: Background, Legislation, and Issues [Updated June 12, 2007]   [open pdf - 141KB]

"States and localities have the primary responsibility for prevention and control of domestic crime, while the federal government's role is limited. As crime became more rampant, the federal government increased its involvement in crime control efforts. Over a period of 10 years, Congress passed five major anti-crime bills and increased appropriations for federal assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, however, federal law enforcement efforts have been focused more on countering terrorism and maintaining homeland security. Amid these efforts, however, Congress continues to address many crime-related issues. Many have attributed the increased attention the federal government gave to crime issues in the 1980s and 1990s to the rising crime rates. The crime rates, for example, began to increase in the 1960s, peaking in the late 1980s and mid-1990s and began to decline in the late 1990s. The continued decline in the crime rates in the early 2000's coincided with national attention being focused away from domestic crimes and more on securing the homeland against terrorism. During this period, Congress began to focus federal funding on first responders, while funding to state and local law enforcement for traditional crime fighting activities has seen a mix of increases and decreases. In 2005, however, the violent crime rate began to slightly increase and continued to increase in the first six months of 2006. The recent increase in the violent crime rate, however, continues to remain at an over 30 year low."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32824
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