US presidential race issues: Crime and gun violence

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Election Issues of 2016: Crime


No one is a big fan of crime. That's why presidential candidates spend a lot of time talking about it during election season.

"And then you found out, there's tremendous crime, there's tremendous drugs pouring across the border," Donald Trump said during a recent campaign speech in Los Angeles.

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(MAIN) 2016 issues: Guns, domestic violence, rape, death sentences
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US presidential race issues: Crime and gun violence
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 08: A makeshift memorial is shown along the sidewalk in the Lawndale neighborhood where a 22-year-old man was shot and killed over the Labor Day weekend on September 8, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The murder was one of nine reported in Chicago over the long weekend, with another 46 shot and wounded. Many major U.S. cities, including Chicago, are experiencing a surge in homicides and other violent crimes this year. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 10: Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va., speaks during a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol to demand that Congress take action on gun control legislation, September 10, 2015. Andy Parker, far right, whose daughter Alison, a reporter for WDBJ-TV reporter, was killed on air last month, looks on. The event, titled #Whateverittakes Day of Action, was hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and featured speeches by political leaders and families of gun violence victims. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Signs are viewed on the outside wall of Roanoke Firearms on August 28, 2015, in Roanoke, Virginia. With mass shootings seemingly on a daily basis, it appears no place in the United States is safe from carnage: not churches, not schools, not even the morning newscast.The shocking on-air murder of a young reporter and a cameraman by a disgruntled former colleague August 26, 2015 has once again renewed calls for stricter gun controls.That is simply not going to happen, experts said, and the trend in recent years has actually gone in the opposite direction.'You can't get rid of them,' Harry Wilson, a professor at Roanoke College in Virginia -- near the scene of the latest shooting -- told AFP. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
The Big Boyz Gun store is seen August 28, 2015, in Blue Ridge, Virginia. With mass shootings seemingly on a daily basis, it appears no place in the United States is safe from carnage: not churches, not schools, not even the morning newscast.The shocking on-air murder of a young reporter and a cameraman by a disgruntled former colleague August 26, 2015 has once again renewed calls for stricter gun controls.That is simply not going to happen, experts said, and the trend in recent years has actually gone in the opposite direction.'You can't get rid of them,' Harry Wilson, a professor at Roanoke College in Virginia -- near the scene of the latest shooting -- told AFP. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Police cordon off the scene in lower Manhattan where two people were shot at the Federal Immigration Court on August 21, 2015 in New York City. One man was killed and another injured in the late afternoon shooting. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL, CO - JULY 16: Tom Teves, the father of Aurora shooting victim Alex Teves, is iterviewed after a verdict was delivered in the trial of James Holmes at the Arapahoe County Justice Center on July 16, 2015 in Centennial, Colorado. Holmes was found guilty on all counts in the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 20: About 1,000 people participate in the March for Black Lives in support of the nine people shot to death at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Church earlier this week and for others killed by police violence June 20, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Suspect Dylann Roof, 21, was arrested and charged in the killing of nine people during a prayer meeting in the church, one of the nation's oldest black churches in the South. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A woman protests against domestic violence as she joins other women's rights advocates in an International Women's Day march in downtown Los Angeles, California on March 8, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPT 15: Beth Ferrier of Denver wipes away a tear as she listens to testimony from other women who describe being victims of sexual assault. Ferrier, along with Helen Hayes from Morin County, CA, left, and Heidi Thomas, far right, say they were victims of assault by Bill Cosby. They sit at a table with Rep. Rhonda Fields, second from right. Accusers in the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby join Rep. Rhonda Fields in a stakeholders meeting inside the Colorado State Capitol in Denver to discuss a bill written by Fields to abolish the Statute of Limitations in sexual assault crimes and cases. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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And yet, crime ranks very low among issues Americans consider most important. Nationally, violent crime rates are actually much lower than they've been in the past — even if more Americans believe the crime rate is up compared to last year.

Still, crimes, and what happens to criminals, continue to capture our attention. And while overall, crime may be down, the U.S. still leads the world in mass shootings — with an average of more than one a day so far in 2015.



Gun crimes are tricky territory for politicians. Generally, Democrats want more gun controls, while Republicans want to leave them alone or have fewer restrictions.

"And there is so much evidence that if guns were not so readily available ... then maybe we could prevent this kind of carnage," Hillary Clinton told supporters while in Ankeny, Iowa.

"I do not support any proposed gun control which would limit the right to gun ownership," Sen. Rand Paul said in a campaign ad.


As far as punishment for criminals goes, American voters generally support the death penalty in certain situations. A Gallup poll found that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to support it.
One of the most controversial aspects of the death penalty is how it's carried out.

Executions using lethal injection were botched in Oklahoma, Ohioand Arizona and led critics to challenge the method.

"I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault," Clinton said during a campaign ad.

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Violence against women has become another campaign issue for some candidates. Sexual assault on school campuses has increasingly become a national issue. And sexual assault in the military is another topic some candidates are talking about.

While crime itself will probably always be a talking point during elections, debates are more likely to highlight specific issues such as the death penalty or gun control.

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