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Remarks of Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General
Office of Justice Programs

McGruff 30th Birthday Celebration
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Washington, DC

       Thank you, Ann [Harkins]. I'm delighted to be here. And what a great idea to host this celebration among the images and artifacts of past crimes. I think we're sending a message that - even though our history of crime-fighting centered on the punishment of criminals - the future is in prevention.

       So - Happy Birthday, McGruff! Thirty years is no small feat - for a dog or a public service campaign. I'm not exaggerating when I say that "Take A Bite Out of Crime" is one of the most recognized ad campaigns ever. McGruff is one dog who hasn't just been chasing his tail.

       I'd also like to thank Ann and Bob [Diegelman] for their leadership at the National Crime Prevention Council, and for their partnership with my agency. The Office of Justice Programs and NCPC have had a really long and productive history of working together to fight crime in America's communities, and I think it's been a terrific partnership.

       We've joined together to meet a lot of new challenges over the years - from gang and youth crime, to elder abuse, to Internet predators and cyberbullies, to fraud and identity theft. I know I speak for everyone in my agency - and in the Department of Justice - when I say that we have been proud to be NCPC's ally.

       Having spent more than 30 years working in criminal justice myself, I believe more strongly than ever that smart crime-fighting begins by looking closely at prevention. And it's gratifying for me to see a shift in the way the criminal and juvenile justice systems are being viewed - away from a purely reactive role to one that embraces prevention, intervention, and real problem-solving.

       We're seeing this mindset permeate justice system professionals, government leaders, policymakers, and the public at large. We're also fortunate that the Department of Justice is now being led by an Attorney General who understands that we can be both smart on crime and tough on crime.

       This creates an unprecedented opportunity, in my view. Now we can take what we know about crime and its causes and make it part of our criminal justice policies. It's time for prevention to finally take its place at the head of our nation's public safety agenda. And we'll need NCPC - and McGruff - to help us hold a steady course.

       In the meantime - Happy Birthday, McGruff! - and congratulations on 30 years of service to the citizens and communities of America.

       Thank you.

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