Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Era of Confusion

Is it self denial? Stupidity? Stubbornness? Fear of being wrong? . Just a few posts below, I wrote about a confused AP reporter who couldn't figure out how on earth crime rates were dropping when incarceration rates were rising. Keeping more criminals in jail longer and falling crime statistics were a "paradox" to him.

Recently I came across an article in Time Magazine that had the same theme:

In the past, Bratton had produced near miraculous results in Boston, paving the way for a steep drop in crime before he moved to New York City, where, as police commissioner from 1994 to 1996, he presided over a 50% drop in homicides. But his techniques of putting more cops on the street, making individual officers more accountable for offenses in their neighborhoods and shortening the civilian complaint process have been controversial... But even as cities across the nation hired more cops and jailed more young men, many academics disputed the idea that strong policing was the key to controlling crime. "It is still not clear what actually brings crime down," says Andrew Karmen, professor of sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. (emphasis mine)

AP reporters and professors of sociology are not stupid people. What is it that makes them think this way?

Maybe I can make this clear for them.

Criminals in prison don't commit crimes in the street.
More police, more criminals in prison.

What's so tough about that?

Maybe Chief Bratton has the answer to this also - "The penicillin for dealing with crime is cops. I thought I had already proved this. Criminologists who say it is economics or the weather or some other thing are crazy."


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