Address at Indianapolis, Indiana

April 26, 1968


Indianapolis, IN

Crime is an issue that is difficult and dangerous; easily susceptible to illusory and false programs; an issue which threatens to divert us from the road to a better nation into blind alleys of suspicion and mistrust.

So let us examine not just the danger of crime but what we can do together to meet the dilemmas of lawlessness…

The real threat of crime is what it does to ourselves and our communities. No nation hiding behind locked doors is free, for it is imprisoned by its own fear. No nation whose citizens fear to walk their own streets is healthy, for in isolation lies the poisoning of public participation. A nation which surrenders to crime—whether by indifference or by heavy-handed repression—is a society which has resigned itself to failure. Yet disturbingly, many Americans seem to regard crime as a pervasive enemy that cannot be defeated…

Thus the fight against crime is in the last analysis the same as the fight for equal opportunity, or the battle against hunger and deprivation, or the struggle to prevent the pollution of our air and water. It is a fight to preserve the quality of community which is at the root of our greatness; a fight to preserve confidence in ourselves and our fellow citizens; a battle for the quality of our lives.