THERE'S no reason to begrudge the First Family their...


April 02, 1994

THERE'S no reason to begrudge the First Family their allegiance to the University of Arkansas basketballers. Still, were President Clinton, Hillary and Chelsea showing proper form by rooting for the Hogs so visibly and vocally during the team's Midwest Regional triumph last Sunday?

Now that Arkansas has reached the Final Four of the NCAA tournament, we'll again see the Clintons cheering on their favorite fivesome, tonight and possibly once more on Monday night, as it chases the national championship in Charlotte, N.C.

If Mr. Clinton were still governor of Arkansas, there would be no complaint here about his making like a cheerleader for the team, hugging its coach and doing everything but pledging to accompany the Hogs to Disney World should they win the title.

But c'mon, Mr. President. You're the elected leader of all Americans now, even opponents of the U. of A. Root all you want for Arkansas. The smart thing, though, would be to do your rooting in front of the tube at the White House. Heaven knows your Secret Service detail would prefer it that way.

If you must go out to the game, maybe you could borrow a page from your idol, John F. Kennedy. When President Kennedy attended an Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, he sat on one team's side of the field during the first half and then switched sides for the second half. Navy man though he was, JFK had sense enough not to alienate one branch of the service by showing favoritism to another at a major sporting event.

Remember, Mr. Clinton: Folks vote in Arizona, Florida and North Carolina, too.

* * *

CONVENTIONAL wisdom has it that crime drops in cold weather, picks up in the warmer months.

By the same sort of reasoning, you would expect crime would have dropped sharply in February, when most of the community was housebound by ice and sleet. Not so, at least not in one Baltimore neighborhood that keeps track of crime.

As part of their Citizens on Patrol project, Federal Hill residents analyze monthly neighborhood crime reports. The number of crimes is pretty small, so statistical differences don't support much generalization. But there were 40 percent more crimes there in the first three months of this year compared to the same months last year, 66 versus 47. The big surge was in February!

By far the most common crime in Federal Hill is breaking into or stealing a car (most often, visitors should note, cars of non-residents). Only one was stolen in February, but 10 were broken into, far more than on a typical month. And there were five break-ins of peoples' homes in February, compared with four in January and one in March.

How did the thieves get their loot home? Dog sleds?

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