The Public Interest

The Crime Commission reports

James Q. Wilson

Fall 1967

Despite the widespread popular concern with “crime in the streets,” the report of the President’s Crime Commission – officially, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice– is not likely to be a best-seller. In this, it will be no different from the report of most other blue-ribbon commissions, and for the same reasons: it offers no “solution” to the problem and it provides no convenient answers to the question of what we might do short of solving it. Even if it were possible (which it is not) to give clear, simple answers to popular questions about crime, the political problems of the Commission– the need to adapt its work to the interests of existing institutions now managing the crime problem, to the professional specialties of the staff recruited to write the report, to the diverse persuasions of the Commission members charged with agreeing on recommendations, and to the urgent deadlines of a White House eager for “results”– would have made either clarity or simplicity unlikely.

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