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Americans should be thankful they live in a country that takes crime seriously and is fighting it with growing success Not so long ago one source of anti-Americanism in Europe was the belief that crime was out of control in the US But things have changed significantly US crime rates now compare favorably with Europes--and unlike Europes they are going down not up These disparities are the result of government policies more than social behavior Just as President Bush has placed the US on a war footing with regard to international terrorism while Europe treats it with indifference American cities zero tolerance approach to crime contrasts with Europes increasing liberalism A Tragic Case in Point While Tony Blair--without much support from his party--sticks by Mr Bush in confronting Iraq and other states that sponsor terrorism crime on the home front has reached pandemic proportions And the authorities are making it easier for criminals to prosper In January a judge freed a drug-addict-turned-professional- burglar who plies his trade swinging a machete This man had 51 previous convictions The judge said he wouldnt mete out a prison sentence in the hope the man would give up drugs and develop his undoubted talent for writing poetry Nothing was said about the widow whose home this criminal had invaded and rifled This ultraliberal approach reflects recent directives regarding sentencing given by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf and endorsed by the political head of the law the Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine Woolf directed judges not to send first-time and some second-time burglars to jail but to sentence them to community service Lord Irvine made matters worse by saying on the radio I dont accept that people are disturbed at first-time burglars or even second-time burglers not going to prison I dont think people have as great a faith in prison as tabloid newspapers suggest This view was immediately contradicted in opinion polls Burglary accounted
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