THE BLOG
06/12/2008 12:28 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Crime and the Candidates

Why isn't there a hue and cry across the land about crime in this country?

If true leadership starts at the top why isn't either of the presidential candidates talking about crime in America? Why aren't they proposing an anti-crime plan along with their Iraq package, their health care ideas and their Social Security solutions? Crime is something that affects all of us every single day... and it's getting worse.

The mainstream media, of which I was a part for many years, has lost their way somehow.
They've forgotten to pepper candidates with questions about issues that cause us distress. They've forgotten to identify the needs and concerns of the masses and dig hard for answers. They've forgotten to ask either Obama or McCain what they plan to do about those among us who prey on others -- from petty criminals to corporate bad guys.

We recently learned that 1 in every 100 Americans is already in prison. More than 2 million people are incarcerated in the United States costing states and the federal government (read that us -- you and me) billions -- yes, BILLIONS -- of dollars every year. How bad does it have to get before the public starts demanding something different be done? How much higher must those numbers go before our leaders start talking about, and doing something about, this thing that plagues and drains us all?

It's something many of us think about on a regular basis: The possibility of violent crime, white collar crime, auto theft, child molesting, home invasion, elder abuse, bank fraud, identity theft, mortgage fraud. Why don't we hear these phrases more often from the leaders who want our votes?

So much has been said during the campaign about curbing and controlling international terrorism and who isn't for that? But what about terrorism of our citizenry by criminals which occurs on a daily basis here in the United States?

Now, let me ask you something -- honestly. What directly affects your daily life more than the ever increasing rise in our nation's crime rate? Ok, you'll likely answer, "Gas prices!" -- but after that?

Let's say after an extra long day at work you stop for a bite to eat at one of those chain restaurants. The parking lot is crowded with other exhausted overtime workers so you have to park a far distance from the door. When its time to leave and you have to cross that darkened lot to get to your car are you worrying more about the long term health of the social security system or the immediate possibility of being a crime victim?

When you look at your adjustable rate mortgage do you contemplate what the next retail sales figures will be or do you wonder if everything was on the up and up when you signed those mortgage papers?

When you send your child off to catch the school bus, and you've bought into their argument that they are old enough to go by themselves, do you worry about the strength of the dollar overseas or a lurking pedophile?

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. And they report that when the firm Cooper and Secrest Associates asked Americans which threat they took more seriously, 69% of us chose homegrown violent crime. Only 19% of those asked named an international terrorist threat.

Now, I don't usually align myself with progressive/liberal groups but their four point assessment of the future makes perfect sense:

1. There are a huge number of incarcerated convicts set to be released in the next five years.
2. There is a bloated group of young people entering their so-called "high crime years."
3. Organized criminal gangs are recruiting illegal aliens like there's no tomorrow.
4. The internet is increasingly being used for criminal enterprise and it's a certainty that there will be more criminals using it in the future.

Crime is an issue that directly affects every American's daily lives. We're consumed working golden time to make enough money to pay our bills (in this time of undeclared recession) and buying house alarms, car alarms, insurance policies and cell phones for each of our children -- just in case.

Yet the last time I heard a presidential contender asked about crime was right after it was revealed that New York's Governor Eliot Spitzer had been caught up in a high priced, international prostitution ring. That's hardly the kind of crime the average American worries about!

Between the candidates and the media I'm not learning a whole lot about what these wanna-be's for the White House will do to make my daily life safer and freer from crime. And I don't know who to complain about first -- the politicians or the reporters.

Diane Dimond writes a weekly newspaper column on crime and justice. She can be reached through her website at www.DianeDimond.net