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Mr. Oliver, the Sam Houston professor, said Mr. McCain’s campaign lacks the central crime issue that Mr. Obama has with the COPS program.

“It’s a little bit more fuzzy as to what to say about McCain,” said Mr. Oliver, who has analyzed both candidates’ crime policies and plans to co-write a paper about them.

He said Mr. McCain’s policy aligns with traditional conservative views.

On his campaign Web site, Mr. McCain says he will strengthen laws against child predators, push for lifetime sex offender registration for those who abuse children, and fund the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to track the trade of child pornography.

Mr. McCain also supports improving communication equipment systems for police and other first responders and programs that aim to decrease recidivism among former prisoners. He calls for securing the border and ensuring illegal immigrants in prison are deported once they complete their sentences.

In the area of counterterrorism, both campaigns call for greater information sharing among federal and local law enforcement agencies. But neither campaign offers many specifics about how to accomplish that.