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When problems are revealed in health care, education, or some other social area, liberals immediately cry out for more government – even if the problems were caused by government in the first place. Some conservatives fight the new proposals, but they eventually compromise – making government bigger and the original problem worse.

When problems are revealed in public safety or foreign policy, conservatives immediately cry out for more government – even if the problems were caused by government in the first place. Some liberals fight the new proposals, but they eventually compromise – making government bigger and the original problem worse.

Crime-fighting provides a good example of how smaller government would improve matters.

A little history

In 1943, there were 44 murders in New York City. In 1995, with roughly the same population, New York City had 1,499 murders – and this was celebrated as an improvement.

The truth is our cities were much safer when government was smaller.

Here are four ways reducing government will reduce crime.

1. Stop disarming innocent citizens

There was a time in America when criminals had to fear law-abiding citizens. If a criminal thought about attacking someone on the street, he had no way of knowing whether his victim was armed. If a criminal wanted to rob someone’s home, he had to wonder whether the homeowner would meet him with a gun.

But the gun-control laws have changed all that.

Gun laws don’t stop criminals from acquiring guns. And the solution isn’t tougher enforcement of existing gun laws. The laws have caused innocent people to die when a waiting period has kept someone from acquiring a gun to scare off a stalker – or a gun-lock requirement prevented someone from using a gun in time to stop an intruder or attacker.

If we want Americans to be safer, we need to repeal all the gun laws on the books. Criminals will have no more guns than they do now, but Americans will be able to defend themselves – and it will probably inspire a number of criminals to seek a safer line of work.

Less government means less crime.

2. Get the federal government out of law enforcement

All crime is local. It occurs in the jurisdiction of a police department or sheriff’s department somewhere. So the Constitution provides no crime-fighting role for the federal government.

But politicians have passed federal laws against carjacking, vandalism, “hate crimes,” kidnapping, discrimination, fraud, pornography, gun ownership, drugs and almost anything some politician doesn’t happen to like.

Federal law enforcement makes you less safe. It allows politicians to force your local police department to pay more attention to hiring quotas than to stopping violent crime.

Getting the federal government out of law enforcement will reduce your taxes, restore many of the liberties you’ve lost, and make your neighborhood safer.

Once again, less government means less crime.

3. Repeal all asset-forfeiture laws

Asset-forfeiture laws allow federal, state or local government agents to seize your property if they suspect it may have been related to a crime.

It doesn’t matter that the property was only incidental to the crime – or that you didn’t commit the crime – or that you didn’t even know a crime was occurring – or perhaps that you even risked your life trying to prevent it.

If government agents suspect that your property might have been related, however remotely, to a crime that might have occurred, even if you had no knowledge it was occurring, the agents can seize your property. And the law-enforcement agency that seizes it can keep most of the proceeds.

These laws have become a brutal fund-raising tool for law-enforcement agencies – causing them to pay more attention to cases involving property that can be seized, and less to cases in which your life or property may be threatened.

Repealing all asset-forfeiture provisions will redirect police to chasing violent crime, instead of lucrative seizures – making your life safer.

Once again, less government means less crime.

4. Stop prosecuting victimless crimes

The crime rate can be reduced dramatically by ending the War on Drugs and stopping the prosecution of other victimless crimes. This will free up resources to control violent crime – the kind that hurts and terrorizes people.

Our prisons are packed with non-violent criminals – which frees violent murderers, rapists and robbers on early release and through plea bargains. We need to send the pot smokers and other non-violent prisoners home, and make room for the violent thugs you don’t want to meet on a dark street.

Less government means less crime

Will these four proposals end crime entirely? Of course not. Even the freest and most prosperous country in the world will have people who try to get what they want by taking it from others.

But you can have a peaceful city and a peaceful neighborhood. And you can have it by reducing our reliance on government and relying more on citizens who have an interest in minimizing crime.

(For a much more detailed presentation of how less government equals less crime, click here.)

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