Program On Crime
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Highlights and Summary of
The Libertarian Party's Solution to America's Crime Problem
An approach to criminal justice
and crime control that is smart, compassionate and tough. An approach
that will make our streets safe again.
America suffers from an epidemic of
violence and crime, victimizing one family out of four every year. There
is a murder every half hour, a rape every five minutes, and a theft
every four seconds.
Despite decades of tough talk, the
anti-crime policies of the Republicans and Democrats have clearly
failed. The Libertarian Party believes a fresh approach is needed.
That's why we're offering this five-point plan for making America's
streets safe again:
Step 1. Protect Victims' Rights
Protecting the rights and interests of
victims should be the basis of our criminal justice system. Victims
should have the right to be present, consulted and heard throughout the
prosecution of their case.
In addition, Libertarians would do more
than just punish criminals. We would also make them pay restitution to
their victims for the damage they've caused, including property loss,
medical costs, pain, and suffering. If you are the victim of a crime,
the criminal should fully compensate you for your loss.
Step 2. End Prohibition
Drug prohibition does more to make
Americans unsafe than any other factor. Just as alcohol prohibition gave
us Al Capone and the mafia, drug prohibition has given us the Crips, the
Bloods and drive-by shootings. Consider the historical evidence:
America's murder rate rose nearly 70% during alcohol prohibition, but
returned to its previous levels after prohibition ended. Now, since the
War on Drugs began, America's murder rates have doubled. The
cause/effect relationship is clear. Prohibition is putting innocent
lives at risk.
What's more, drug prohibition also
inflates the cost of drugs, leading users to steal to support their high
priced habits. It is estimated that drug addicts commit 25% of all auto
thefts, 40% of robberies and assaults, and 50% of burglaries and
larcenies. Prohibition puts your property at risk. Finally, nearly one
half of all police resources are devoted to stopping drug trafficking,
instead of preventing violent crime. The bottom line? By ending drug
prohibition Libertarians would double the resources available for crime
prevention, and significantly reduce the number of violent criminals at
work in your neighborhood.
Step 3. Get Tough on Real Crime
The Libertarian Party is the party of
personal responsibility. We believe that anyone who harms another person
should be held responsible for that action. By contrast, the Democrats
and Republicans have created a system where criminals can get away with
For instance: sentences seldom mean what
they say. Fewer than one out of every four violent felons serves more
than four years. Libertarians would dramatically reduce the number of
these early releases by eliminating their root cause - prison
Since nearly six out of every ten federal
prison inmates are there for non-violent drug-related offenses, it's
clear that drug prohibition is the primary source of this over-crowding.
It has been estimated that every drug offender imprisoned results in the
release of one violent criminal, who then commits an average of 40
robberies, 7 assaults, 110 burglaries and 25 auto thefts. Early release
of violent criminals puts you and your family at risk. It must stop.
Step 4. Protect the Right to
We believe that the private ownership of
firearms is part of the solution to America's crime epidemic, not part
of the problem. Evidence: law-abiding citizens in Florida have been able
to carry concealed weapons since 1987. During that time, the murder rate
in Florida has declined 21% while the national murder rate has increased
In addition, evidence shows that
self-defense with guns is the safest response to violent crime. It
results in fewer injuries to the defender (17.4% injury rate) than any
other response, including not resisting at all (24.7% injury rate).
Libertarians would repeal waiting periods, concealed carry laws, and
other restrictions that make it difficult for victims to defend
themselves, and end the prosecution of individuals for exercising their
rights of self-defense.
Step 5. Address the Root Causes of Crime
Any society that lets kids grow up
dependent on government welfare, attending government schools that fail
to teach, and entering an economy where government policy has crushed
opportunity, will be a society that breeds criminals. No permanent
solution to crime will be found until we address these root causes of
The Libertarian Party would increase
employment opportunities by slashing taxes and government red tape. We
would also end the welfare system with its culture of dependence and
hopelessness. Most important of all, we would promote low-cost private
alternatives to the failed government school system.
The Libertarian Party's anti-crime plan
would do what the Democrats and Republicans have not done:
- Respect the victim's rights and make
criminals pay full restitution.
- Hold all criminals responsible for
- Double the police resources available
for crime prevention without any additional government spending.
- Reduce the number of criminals at
large on our streets.
- Defend the most effective crime
deterrent available, the private ownership of guns.
- Create jobs, end welfare dependence,
and improve education.
This Libertarian program would help make
America's streets safe again.
For more background on these issues, read