U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton is to announce in West Philadelphia today a crime-fighting plan that she boldly says will halve homicide rates in cities over five years.
Clinton will unveil the plan - "Solutions for Safe and Secure Communities Now" - at the Westside YMCA, 51st and Chestnut streets. Mayor Nutter will be at her side. "We wanted to deliver the speech in a place where people need to know help is on the way," said Clinton spokesman Mark Nevins.
In the detailed policy paper, provided yesterday to the Daily News, Clinton promises to put 100,000 more cops on the streets, create a $1 billion grant program to fight recidivism, and provide more funds to combat gangs and drugs.
"It is a sad day in America when the president can find hundreds of billions of dollars to police another country's civil war, but cuts funding for police officers right here at home," Clinton said in a prepared statement.
"We deserve better. Our mayors like my friend Mayor Nutter shouldn't be tackling this problem alone," she said. "Our police officers shouldn't be walking those beats alone. Our clergy shouldn't be ministering to our young people alone. Our parents shouldn't be fighting alone to keep their children on the right path. And our young people deserve every chance to fulfill their God-given potential - they shouldn't be struggling alone, either. The federal government should be standing as a partner with all of them . . . "
Clinton's announcement comes 11 days before the crucial Pennsylvania Democratic primary. Although Clinton began the race with a big lead in the state, Sen. Barack Obama has gained in the polls and has vastly outspent her on TV advertising. Obama is also expected to enjoy strong support in Philadelphia, although he has made only a few appearances in the city. Much of Clinton's plan is not new. She has promised more funding for the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program, an increased effort to fight recidivism and some moderate gun control - such as renewal of the assault-weapons ban.
Obama has made similar promises on crime. Clinton's speech is notable because it comes after complaints that the candidates have spent little time talking about urban policy.
Violent crime was the No. 1 issue in the mayor's race last year. There were 392 homicides and 1,734 shootings in Philadelphia in 2007. Clinton's plan has specific funding targets. She promises:
* To update the COPS program, established in President Bill Clinton's administration, by providing funding for 100,000 community cops. The program also would provide technology grants and $250 million per year for community prosecutors.
* To set up a $1 billion grant program to support local efforts to reduce the number of repeat offenders. Grants could help reform a probation system or set up a job-training service for ex-offenders.
* To renew the ban on assault weapons and repeal the Tiahrt amendment, which restricts federal authorities from sharing gun-trace information with local law enforcement.
* To help at-risk children by doubling their number in after-school programs and expanding the number of early-intervention mentoring programs. *