THE BLOG

Candidates and Crime

12/05/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

When you go into the voting booth to cast your ballot for the next President of the United States ask yourself why neither of the nominees is talking about crime in America.

Maybe I have a one track mind - crime - but why is it that neither Barack Obama nor John McCain have made even the tiniest mention of what all of us worry about on a daily basis?

Will the kids get to and from school okay? Will that far-away parking space prove to be dangerous when you go back to your car late at night? Has your late-for-curfew teenager been the victim of some random criminal act? Is it safe for your spouse to work that overnight shift?

Yes, yes - I know, there are many pressing issues facing America like national defense, the economy and health care. But this campaign has gone on forever and I haven't heard either candidate say what they plan to do to make me feel safer. Where's the anti-crime bill proposal to go along with their ideas to wrap up in Iraq or fix the housing market?

Earlier this year a stunning report from the Pew Center for the States concluded 1 in every 100 American adults is now behind bars. In total more than 2 million people are currently incarcerated in America costing states and the federal government (read that: you and me) combined billions - yes, BILLIONS - of dollars every year.

How bad does it have to get, how much higher will those numbers go before our leaders start addressing this thing that plagues and drains us all?

The mainstream media, of which I was a part for many years including coverage of several presidential campaigns, has lost its way somehow. They've forgotten to pepper the candidates with questions about issues that cause voters daily distress. They've forgotten to dig hard for substantive answers. They've forgotten to ask either McCain or Obama what they plan to do about those among us who prey on others - from hardened criminals to corporate bad guys.

Think of the way we're forced to live our lives now. We're consumed with working enough hours to pay our mounting bills, including ever rising burdensome tax bills. We fret about the possibility of violent crime, white collar crime, auto theft, child molesting, home invasion, elder abuse, identity theft - the list is long. Among the items we think we must buy are home security systems, car alarms, insurance policies and cell phones for each of our children, just in case something awful happens and they need to call us. We design our daily routines around regular calls to the vulnerable senior citizens in our lives, we shell out money for expensive security for our small businesses and we pay more in school tuitions to make sure the children are safer.

It's as though there's a built in anti-crime tax to everything we do.

Is this ok with you? Is this the way you want to spend your money? Well, steel yourself because things could get worse.

A recent report by Third Way, a liberal think tank based in Washington DC, concludes there is an upcoming convergence of events that will make our modern day worries about crime seem miniscule. Among the dangerous trends ahead? First, a huge number of baby boomer convicts are set to be released from prison in the next five years. Let's hope their rehabilitation and re-training sticks - but don't count on it. In addition, as our economy tanks there is a bloated group of young people entering their so-called "high crime years." The report also states that organized criminal gangs are recruiting illegal aliens like there's no tomorrow. And, the internet is increasingly being used for criminal enterprise and the report concludes more criminals will certainly be using it in the future.

Yet the candidates don't seem to see the road ahead. The reporters who dog the candidates all day long never shout out any questions about crime. This is strange to me.

About a year ago the firm Cooper and Secrest Associates released a study that asked Americans which threat they took more seriously international terrorism or home grown violent crime. 69 % said they worry more about what's directly outside their front door. Only 19% worried about another terrorist attack.

Yeah, I guess I have a one track mind. I've written about this in the past and I will continue to write about why our leaders don't put crime prevention on the front burner. Criminals have reached their slimy tentacles into nearly all aspects of our lives. I want to know how the occupant of the White House plans to address the national security situation right here at home.

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Diane Dimond's website is: www.DianeDimond.net. You can contact her at: Diane@DianeDimond.net