Sunday, September 24, 2006

Crime

I read some interesting articles on crime in the paper today.

The headline in today’s paper was an article by Dan Klepal: Crime's Outreach Spreads Out.

Klepal's article focused on crime, and how it is on the rise just about everywhere. Some city leaders may claim otherwise, but denial isn't a river in Egypt. Crime is a big problem for the City of Cincinnati.

What is the cost of crime? Here is one price we pay:

Families are leaving. Census data released this summer showed the city lost 6.8 percent of its population from 2000 to 2005, taking Detroit's place as the biggest percentage loser among cities with a population of 100,000 or more.


Ultimately people vote with their feet. It is sad to see that we have eclipsed Detroit, the national model on how to run a bad city. For those of you not up on the utopia that is Detroit, check out Shrinking Detroit has 12,000 abandoned homes. My favorite part of the article is when Stephen Vogel, a Dean at the University of Detroit talks about the exodus of dead people already in their graves.

"Suburbanites are taking the bodies of their relatives out of cemeteries because they're afraid to come to the city," Vogel said.


Vogel states that 400-500 dead people are removed from Detroit cemeteries every year. Thousands of dead people have been relocated. Imagine the cost of that, it is no little affair. You pay to exhume the grave, transport your beloved, and you pay for a new plot and a new burial. It is thousands of dollars. When you take your dead with you, it isn't just leaving a city. It is making a bold and clear statement.

I love this city. The fact that we have eclipsed Detroit as the biggest percentage loser in population scares me. We need to save Cincinnati, and we are at the tipping point right now. Wait any longer and you will never have another chance.

This part of Klepal's article confused me:

But crime isn't the only reason, says Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C.

Every major city is dealing with a surge in violent crime, Wexler said. Nationwide, violent offenses increased more between 2004 and 2005 than at any time in the past 14 years.

"Cincinnati is not alone," Wexler said. "You're one of a number of cities dealing with the same thing across the country - from Boston to San Francisco, from Orlando to Sacramento."

Wexler and other law enforcement experts cite a number of reasons: a rise in gang activity, more juveniles becoming involved in crime and reduction in police on the streets while cities have to spend more on homeland security.

"We're seeing this impact in many medium to large cities," Wexler says


The article states that crime is not the only reason, but if fails to cite any other reason other than crime. Chuck Wexler didn't give us another reason. Rising gang activity, more juvenile crime, and a reduction in money for policing are all crime/safety related issues. That isn't to say that crime is the only issue that people cite for leaving, just that Klepal and Wexler don't offer any others. People often leave the city because of our failed public schools. Of the people that leave the city, issues of security/safety and education almost always top the list.

Another article in today's paper by Sharon Coolidge tackled issues of crime from the perspective of black judges: Black judges discuss issues

I found most of article agreeable, but one part questionable.

The president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Attorney Theodore M. Shaw focused on the War on drugs...

The criminal justice system continues to incarcerate millions of African-Americans for non-violent drug offenses, Shaw said.

"We have to find a better way," Shaw said. "The war on drugs has become the war on black people."


I agree completely with barrister Shaw. We do have to find a better way. The drug war has become a war on black people if you look at the statistics. The birth of organized crime in this country was when alcohol was made illegal. It created underground economies and gave violent criminals an avenue to make loads of cash and increase their power and influence. The exact same thing has happened with the war on drugs, and the battleground and the victim is the black community.

We aren’t going to “win” the “War on Drugs”. If anyone thinks that is possible, they need to look at history. Drugs are bad for you, just as Alcohol and Cigarettes are bad for you. Nobody is mistaking these habits for virtues in today’s world. There has to be a better way than incarceration for non-violent/victimless crimes. The industry could be taxed, regulated, and better treated as the health/addiction issue that it is. What we have done is to criminalize abuse and addiction. Dispite wide spread drug abuse across racial and economic lines, the end result has targeted a statistically disproportionate amount of the black population.

The comment I didn’t agree with was made by Saul Green. Saul Green is “the collaborative agreement monitor who tracks reform efforts by the Cincinnati Police Department”

Green said in many cities, including Cincinnati, people must find a better way to respond to violent crime.

"It is often knee-jerk - more police, more arrests, more enforcement," Green said. "All that does is result in more incarceration."


First off, incarceration is not a “knee-jerk” response to violent crime. The history of this nation is pretty consistent with regards to violent crime, regardless of race or economic status. It is distressing to me that the monitor of the Collaborative Agreement thinks that incarceration is not a proper response to violent crime.

If incarceration is not going to solve the problem, does Mr. Green think that not incarcerating people is a better alternative? If Howard Beatty was free to walk the streets today, does anyone think that would be a good idea? Incarcerating Howard Beatty won’t solve all of society’s problems, but it will solve the problem of Howard Beatty. People will continue to die on our streets, but for the next 13 years Howard Beatty isn’t going to gun down anyone in front of City Hall.

If you let violent criminals go free without incarceration, imagine how intimidating life would be for law abiding citizens. The Howard Beattys would get their way, and everyone but the Beattys and the people who couldn’t afford to move would be leaving the neighborhood.

And this situation isn’t unique to America. Every nation locks up violent criminals. If you rape, stab, shoot or murder someone you get incarcerated. You get taken out of society and locked up. Part of the reason is to punish you, but the main part is to keep you from raping, stabbing, shooting or murdering the rest of your neighbors.

Mr. Shaw was addressing non-violent crimes relating to the drug war. On that subject other nations have indeed relaxed laws and treated the problems of drug abuse and addiction as health problems with considerable success. It is something worth looking at. Mr. Green however is giving us a prescription for anarchy. I am all for attacking the root causes of violent crime, like failed government schools or lack of economic opportunity. I am not for treating rapists and killers like victims.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Wolverine JR said...

Just reviewed some e-mails and wasn't going to post today, but this link

http://frontier.cincinnati.com/comments/threadView.asp?threadid=144

was sent as an FYI with comment by a widely read community activist in the body of a morning letter from another widely read community activist on the topic of crime. The original sender addressed the matter as if the high muckety-mucks of council and city hall, commission offices, state legislators and law enforcement could ever come down from their lofty perches, work together, act as if they understood the daily engagement constituents go through to work, live and sometimes just survive. This link pairs with what....(Good, Lord Almighty, it's a MALE DALLORY posting! Criminey!What happened? Put the suit into the cleaners and forget to take yourself out of it? Welcome back!
Now I have to wear Pops' red nose
for the drive south.)

Most of them spend more time on the circuits arranged by their friendly neighborhood lobbyists, for photo shoots/ops to further the lobbyists' business interests than in understanding our neighborhood trenches.

That's how the citizens' voice on Drake ended up in the spin cycle of the Heimlich-Weiland-Tillery washeteria. Each bolstered, placated and sought schmooze from each other and politically savvy leaders keep leaping through the same hoops for these and their favored allegiance.

Partisan politics draws no lines here because of the lack of courage FOR CITIZEN INTERESTS by entrenched parties and their anemic leaderships. Weiland throws fundraisers on both sides of the aisle, is admitted into the rank idiot inner core, and the rank and file get the shaft aross the board. Dirty with FOJ; dirtier now because others owe him for taking a fall. Those that oppose such manipulations still play the games of wait, patience, and patrician patronizing of neighborhoods by offering little constant contact in on-going basis. Once I'd like to see a true gathering of political brains across the terrain from here to Columbus and back that really works all of the angles on a problem with neighborhoods. Several of them have the ability, but the thin air they live in corrodes the synaptic system.

Shouldn't be getting so worked up with a trip south, now I'll have to add the violins to the stereo.

Clown's back on line,
MallaClown's running for the 32nd House,
Clowncil, ClownPhil
....don't want to be too hard on the two activists who I admire and know their work.....but that feeling of coulrophobia is creeping over me. Hale,yes for citizens!!!!

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Follow the spread of Section 8 housing through the destroyed neighborhoods...

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Track the owner/developers who administer the major places like Fay,and some others.Who are the in-towners and the out-of-towners. Let's look a little deeper at the Don Troendle connection. Any landlord with more than 5 palaces that receives section 8 needs to be noted.

This is a lucrative business that got hit last year with more restrictions and money cuts to many landlords.

OH, this would be good. What about throwing a potluck for D4S, invite GodFather Mallorbilly,have him regale us with stories of all he knows about such entrepreneurial testiments. (That was said tongue in cheek to not have a foot planted in my keister. The connections between WMSr and these land barons/baronesses is as plain as the substanial nose on my face.)

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Mina said...

I give up. If my family survives until my daughter graduates from high school, I am getting the hell out of dodge.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous MrsWJr said...

While this kettle of fish is already boiling, let's look at these from the Business courier.
The paper that Stephanie Jones loves to be quoted in.

1.) March 18, 2005 Business Courier...Troendle Tales:

http://cincinnati.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2005/03/21/story1.html


2). April 1, 2005 Names and major players; more troendle Tales.

Was Attorney Hendy, the Walnut Hills Representative to the EZ part of this web thread?:

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2005/04/04/story6.html

3).This is a published work (from April 2006)one can buy, I’ll figure out who the state representative is:

http://www.explainingmortgages.com/a-section-8-housing/Community-resistance-to-the-Section-8-housing-choice-voucher-program-A-case-study-of-the-Multi-Neighborhood-Housing-Task-Force-in-Cincinnati-Ohio-0542159872.htm

More inroads by Wednesday.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Carstairs said...

"There has to be a better way than incarceration for non-violent/victimless crimes."

I'm going to tackle this statement first. Someone out there in Crimeland or in a crime think tank made up this jazz of "non-violent crimes".

As we are today, all forms of crime have some sort of a negative effect on where we live & where we work. These so-called victimless crimes starts the slow necrosis, the deadly decay of our livelihoods.

There are alternatives to incarceration. Probation. Community Service. Diversion Programs. Treatment & counselling. The River City Program, which is a short-term incarceration format. That's what we have. That's what's funded.

The problem is some of the criminals treat the alternatives just like they view jail & prison. It's a big joke. It's also time to increase their street smarts, especially if they're in prison.

Saul Green is the one who needs to be coming up with better ideas to turn the crime epidemic around. Our federal tax money is paying his freight. You ask your favorite police officer what he/she thinks of Saul Green & this Collaborative baloney. No doubt, you'll get the same answers I did. And I happened to agree with my officers 100%. This guy was supposed to have all the answers when he was fingered to stick his nose in police business. And I haven't seen anything measurable out of this guy.

The only way alternatives to incarceration are going to work is when a criminal gets his/her mind around the fact that they want to change, want a positive, rewarding life & crime isn't giving them the thrills anymore. That's why probation & treatment programs fail time & again. The City's social services program is bloated with all sorts of schemes that claim results. The results lies within the person seeking that particular service, & that individual must work for change every hour for the rest of their lives.

Frankly, I like the prison system. You do the crime, by jove, you're going to do the time. Every last day of it. You're out of my neighborhood & it gives the community time to create a plan & get it rolling so that you won't want to come back.

Saul Green & this Collaborative are jokes & a hindrance to our police department. Our neighborhoods are down in the chasms of crime. The article in the paper & the statistics prove it. I believe the Collaborative expires in the Spring. I've heard the effort isn't going to be lobbied for an extension, either.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

Carstairs your attitudes are scary but very much expected. The fact of the matter is that the Saul Green would not have had an opportunity to put his fingers in "police business" if the business of the Cincinnati police department was not abusive, illegal, racist behaviour. Additionally, there are those who believe that the silence of the masses allowed and gave rise to a police department that routinely violated the civil rights of many people not just black people although black people certainly bore the brunt of police brutality and misconduct. When Roger Owensby was choked to death where were you people who profess to be good citizens? When Lorenzo Collins was gunned down where were you all? The cycle of crime that we see today can be traced I believe to April 2001. It was clear that the police slowed down, the statistics speak for themselves, Arrests were down, contacts were down. the police were not policing. They behaved like spoiled children who had their toys taken away. Apparently their authority was not to be qusetioned. And when people were calling for a gang task force both citizens and the four black council members they were rebuffed and told by the command staff of the department that there was no gang problem in Cincinnati, however according to recent reports there was at least one gang operating in Cincinnati, who now according to the police were responsible for murders and mayhem galore on the streets of Avondale, Walnut Hills, Evanston and Bond Hill. We have to develope a wholistic approach to crime or we will be doomed.

12:37 PM  

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