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Old 08-26-2012   #1
davidbfpo
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Default America’s safer streets: why is elusive

Hat tip to a "lurker" for this article in The Economist, the full title is:
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America’s safer streets. The great crime decline continues. No one is sure why
Link:http://www.economist.com/node/21560870

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The truth is that no one predicted America’s great crime decline, and no one has a definitive explanation for it. Particularly confounding has been an acceleration in the drop since 2008; many observers thought a poorer country would be a less law-abiding one....an ageing society like the United States should expect to experience less violent crime. Immigration also matters, he says: studies have repeatedly shown that cities with large immigrant populations experience lower rates of violent crime......in states with a particular fondness for imprisoning citizens, such as California, the policy may have done more harm than good.
Some of the comments are interesting.

As Chicago had its own thread a while back:
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Most striking is an unexpected spike of gang-related violence in Chicago, where murders are up by 28% so far this year. Against a backdrop of a long-term decline in all crime in the city, as well as a 10% decline for the year, the sudden unrest has caused some alarm.
The previous Chicago thread (2008-2012):http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=5319
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Old 08-26-2012   #2
Bill Moore
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http://www.npr.org/2012/01/03/144627...g-held-beliefs

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And I give a lot of the credit to the police, who were focused on the changing of behavior because we have finally come to appreciate that crime is not caused by, but influenced by, the economy sometimes, by the weather sometimes, by demographics sometimes, by poverty, by racism. Those are influences which for 30 years criminologists, academics and politicians told us that they were the causes of crime.

The cause of crime is quite simple: It's human beings who decide intentionally to commit a crime, criminals, or many others who get caught up in the moment of passion under the inducement of alcohol or drugs and commit crimes. That's what police exist for, to control behavior.
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New York City is the principal feeder of the New York state prison system. New York state is, in fact, closing prisons because the prison population has declined. Effectively, it goes back to my point again about the emphasis on police changing behavior, controlling behavior to such an extent you change it.

We are going to be tested in the next several years as a large part of that prison population is being accelerated out of prison because of budget issues, et cetera, and coming back into an environment where, in many cases, they're not going to be under supervision of parole agents or probation agents.
David, this is your area of expertise, but as you know I'm a strong opponent of the poverty theory which now is seriously being challenged with statistics and in my view it has been disproven. A contributing factor yes, but not the cause.

It is a behavior choice, and a choice that can and has been influenced by the actions of the police and community at large. I think we would be remiss not to give police departments that are learning organizations credit where it is due. Obviously good policing isn't the only factor, but I suspect those other factors will at best remain hypothetical and different for each city. I also suspect that the level of crime will increase and decrease over time due to various factors. Some things I would like to see considered are:

- Demographic trends: what has changed from the peak crime time frame to the low crime time frame in age, gender, race, economic status, etc.? This could lend support or a challenge to the birth control/legalized abortion theory.

- Gang distribution/competition: have the gangs come to agreement on turf and what part of the black economy they control? Seems to me from outside observer perspective that much of the violence in high crime areas is competition for control. For example, the violence in parts of Iraq was reduced after one ethnic group was largely forced out of an area.

- Increase or decrease in funding for: police, drug rehabilition, mental hospitals, prison system, etc.

- The impact of our education system on the kids (perhaps installing values in the inner city where some families that are families in name only, do not).

Enforcement is one thing, but it is a crying shame that up to 1% of our populace is locked up at anyone time. We need to take a hard look at ourselves and figure out what is going on.
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Old 08-26-2012   #3
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Some reasons are really simple, such as improved anti-theft protection of cars based on their increasingly complicated electrical system.

Germany's car theft statistic experienced a 60-70% decline of such thefts since the early 90's.


(The again, some Germans would say quite disrespectful things about Poland in this context. )
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Old 08-26-2012   #4
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One of the things that I think is overlooked in trying to figure why crime rates differ from city to city is something that can't be quantified, which is why it may be overlooked. Do the criminals have a degree of de-facto political power? If they do, the critical things that must be done, prosecution, conviction and genuine penalties being given, won't be done. That was one of the things that seemed to exist in New Orleans. Criminals who fled to Houston after Katrina were shocked that they were actually going to be locked up for a long time for things that would have gotten them little or no time in New Orleans. It seemed to indicate that the crooks and all their relatives and friends were having a real effect on how the law was enforced in New Orleans.

I saw this once in a minor way. A very high ranking police officer I knew retired and ran for magistrate judge. One of appeals he made to voters was not what you would have expected from a high ranking retired cop. He said that he would make sure people who came before him were dealt with more leniently. He did that because he expected it to get votes. In a minor way he was appealing for the votes of law breakers.

I wonder if something similar has happened in Chicago. I looked at the thread David linked to and found these quotes.

Majormarginal said this.

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We have had a version of Compstat for years. We also have courts that consider enforcement of broken windows theory arrests to be Police harassment. Chicago Officers have been in Federal Court facing civil charges of violating civil rights. In my experiences the truth means nothing in Federal Court.

Our State's Attorney's office has to approve felony charges except in the cases of drug offenses. Felony charges are usually not approved. Even in cases of battery on a police officer unless there are serious injuries sustained by the officer felony charges will not be approved. Offenses committed outside of Cook County will often result in felony convictions that would not even go to felony court in Cook County.

An arrest situation can result in the death of an officer, time spent in Federal Court answering civil rights charges, injury, or prison for the officer. If you want to feel betrayed by your country be a cop in Federal Court.

The vast majority of shootings I have encountered involved players who would still be in prison if they served their full sentences after conviction.

We do not lack the physical and moral courage to do our jobs. The entire system is dysfunctional.
Watcher in the Middle said this.

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Matt, a bigger part of the problem is Cook County government. Remember, the City of Chicago doesn't run the judicial system - it's Cook County or State of Illinois. There's where the real problems exist. The corruption and patronage is so bad in those areas, and it has so hamstrung law enforcement efforts in different areas, that I am just amazed that people just sit there and take it.
And Zenpundit said this.

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What Chicago does not have - and what you will not see due to Daley machine alliances with organized crime, including street gangs - is gang control
So it may be that the problem in Chicago has more to do with the local political climate than with how well the cops are doing their jobs or what specific laws are on the books. This is all a guess on my part from watching from afar. What do others think of this idea?
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Old 08-27-2012   #5
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With the increased quality of anti theft features on cars carjacking has increased.
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Old 08-27-2012   #6
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Originally Posted by Majormarginal View Post
With the increased quality of anti theft features on cars carjacking has increased.
Not in my place...
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Old 08-27-2012   #7
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Posted by Carl

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So it may be that the problem in Chicago has more to do with the local political climate than with how well the cops are doing their jobs or what specific laws are on the books. This is all a guess on my part from watching from afar. What do others think of this idea
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?
I think it can definitely be a factor. Friends in NYC told me the mob was alive and well, but due to an under the table agreement that don't conduct visible crimes in the streets because the people don't want to see the crime. The crime is still there, but not visible, and not accounted for statistically (good ole measures of effectiveness and measures of performance, they make liars out of all of us). Not sure how much this is exaggerated, but it seems reasonable.

Maybe this what Covey would call the third alternative?
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Old 08-27-2012   #8
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I think it can definitely be a factor. Friends in NYC told me the mob was alive and well, but due to an under the table agreement that don't conduct visible crimes in the streets because the people don't want to see the crime. The crime is still there, but not visible, and not accounted for statistically (good ole measures of effectiveness and measures of performance, they make liars out of all of us).
We had something similar in Germany.

Albanian, Russian and even Chinese organised crime took over red light districts et cetera during the 90's, often times with a degree of brutality that made our German 80's gangsters look nice.
The unofficial response was to allow the rise of the "Hell's Angels" and "Bandidos" so-called "rocker" gangs, who were German organised crime gangs, albeit even using official clubs. The "rocker" gangs took over red light districts, and in turn made them calm, peaceful and chased away the overt drug dealers and addicts so police would tolerate their business (and business would prosper with more customers!).

That gentlemen's arrangement broke down when several chapters of Hell's Angels and Bandidos clashed in an unacceptable way. Authorities would have tolerated indoor brawls, but some idiots went so far as to use a bazooka.
That clearly went beyond the limit, and authorities began to enforce Landfrieden (state monopoly on violence, outlawing of feuds) again.
Authorities had accumulated enough intel on the German-language criminals (easier than with Albanians et cetera!) to crack down thoroughly in some cities.
The stupid chapters were dissolved, the remaining ones had learnt the lesson.


Meanwhile, Germany is still a typical exile and money laundering place for Italian Mafia, but they, too, learnt after some murders during the late 90's to be invisible again.
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Old 08-27-2012   #9
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Fuchs,

That was an educational post. I was aware of Hell's Angels going global, I had no idea that the Bandidos went global. Would love to read how and why that happened. Let's see I'm in Germany and I want to open a Franchise, McDonalds or Bandidos? I am poking fun at a serious issue, but seriously would like to understand how they go global. I would assume if they're trafficking drugs or people they would just make a deal with another crime family or gang in that country, but doesn't appear to be the case.

I was aware of the Eastern European mafias throughout Western Europe, but didn't consider the challenge that their language presents, another excellent point. However, it is a point I am well aware of in the U.S. with the Russia and Chinese (among other nationalties) mobs. I also wonder if a lot of crime is happening in these communities that doesn't get reported because they're scared to do so, or have a hard time finding a police officer that speaks their language? Perhaps a bit of a reach, but I suspect it is a still a factor.
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Old 08-27-2012   #10
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I also wonder if a lot of crime is happening in these communities that doesn't get reported because they're scared to do so, or have a hard time finding a police officer that speaks their language? Perhaps a bit of a reach, but I suspect it is a still a factor.
That isn't a reach at all. That is definitely a factor. In this country the reluctance comes from fear of being deported if the victim is an illegal. If illegals are commonly dealt with, a lot more can be gotten out of them if they are assured that their immigration status is immaterial and local and state officers don't much care about Fed laws. That applies to victims. For bad guys, things are different.
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Old 08-27-2012   #11
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Default Crime Stats Are Tricky At Best

Toffler was right after all!
In general (I say this very cautiously) the recent crime decrease is because there are more unemployed males at home ready and willing to defend there homes and property and or give good descriptions that the Police can act on quickly. Criminals don't like defended targets and they don't like being identified. At the same time theft of copper from unguarded businesses has gone through the roof. Some crimes against persons (personal attacks) have gone up at least in my area.
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Old 08-27-2012   #12
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Would love to read how and why that happened.
One of the murders that triggered the crackdown was rewarded with the permission to open a new Hell's Angels chapter in a city in Poland.

It appears that's how it works.
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Old 08-27-2012   #13
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Fuchs,

That was an educational post. I was aware of Hell's Angels going global, I had no idea that the Bandidos went global. Would love to read how and why that happened. Let's see I'm in Germany and I want to open a Franchise, McDonalds or Bandidos? I am poking fun at a serious issue, but seriously would like to understand how they go global. I would assume if they're trafficking drugs or people they would just make a deal with another crime family or gang in that country, but doesn't appear to be the case.
Some German clubs -most remarkably Hannover's "Bones"- became part of the Hells Angels. That put pressure on the remaining clubs to either join the Angels or find some international affiliation. Enter Bandidos (from Denmark AFAIK). Since then many more local crime crime gangs have seen the pros to openly wearing colors and now we have Outlaws and Mongols as well.

And it looks like the German chapters of the Outlaw MCs are cooperating with other international organizations too. The former president of the Angel's most important chapter in Germany had a club in Hannover's Steintor. This building houses an Italian cafe too. This cafe calls itself "Little Italy" and looks like Tony Soprano's Satriale's. I am sure that there is a message in this .
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I was aware of the Eastern European mafias throughout Western Europe, but didn't consider the challenge that their language presents, another excellent point. However, it is a point I am well aware of in the U.S. with the Russia and Chinese (among other nationalties) mobs. I also wonder if a lot of crime is happening in these communities that doesn't get reported because they're scared to do so, or have a hard time finding a police officer that speaks their language? Perhaps a bit of a reach, but I suspect it is a still a factor.
No, it is a widespread problem. Many immigrants are either scared or distrust local police and they have good reason for both.
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Old 08-27-2012   #14
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On top of that there's the impossibility to infiltrate foreign nationals gangs. How do you find a policeman to infiltrate an Albanian gang or a Chinese gang?

The Chinese triads even have pseudo-secret (=not widely understood) finger signs for some communication which makes police work even more difficult. Only specialists are effective and a microphone or even a single camera are not sufficient.

The Italians in Germany largely limit themselves to money laundering - very difficult to deal with. The typical German restaurant or bar has a third of its earnings as grey income, invisible to the tax collectors. All you need to do for money laundering in such a context is to tell the tax authorities your actual, correct turnover...
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Old 08-27-2012   #15
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On top of that there's the impossibility to infiltrate foreign nationals gangs. How do you find a policeman to infiltrate an Albanian gang or a Chinese gang?

The Chinese triads even have pseudo-secret (=not widely understood) finger signs for some communication which makes police work even more difficult. Only specialists are effective and a microphone or even a single camera are not sufficient.

The Italians in Germany largely limit themselves to money laundering - very difficult to deal with. The typical German restaurant or bar has a third of its earnings as grey income, invisible to the tax collectors. All you need to do for money laundering in such a context is to tell the tax authorities your actual, correct turnover...
According to BKA's Lagebild OK 2010 the Italians are ranked third, with 30 groups that were investigated. If this report is true, their main activities are drug trafficking and counterfeiting. But the official statistics looked always a bit optimistic to me. Already during the 80s there was widespread racketeering of Italian restaurants and businesses in Germany. If you are interested, read Dagobert Lindlaus "Der Mob" about international OK in Germany during that time. Since the German public and officials are in a state of denial about organized crime, I can see no reason why anything should have changed.
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Old 08-27-2012   #16
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That isn't a reach at all. That is definitely a factor. In this country the reluctance comes from fear of being deported if the victim is an illegal. If illegals are commonly dealt with, a lot more can be gotten out of them if they are assured that their immigration status is immaterial and local and state officers don't much care about Fed laws. That applies to victims. For bad guys, things are different.
And it's always been a factor. Nothing new there, really.
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Old 09-04-2012   #17
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Default Compstat is a fraud?

Chicago's leading police blogsite:http://secondcitycop.blogspot.co.uk/ Not sure why it has a UK address, normally it is the other way round for those who can be controversial.

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CompStat is under fire everywhere: Milwaukee has been caught downgrading serious assaults; New Jersey cities were caught lying; New York is about to pay Officer Adrian Schoolcraft $50 million for his whistle blowing on the CompStat fraud while two New York professors (one being John Eterno a retired NYPD Captain and Eli Silverman) have a book that spells out, step-by-step, how CompStat fudges numbers and lies to the public, all for political gain. Chicago politicians and police brass have bought into the system that may cost taxpayers millions in the years to come. And why is it that the FBI won't accept Chicago crime statistics for their annual crime report?
Wiki on NYPD Adrian Schoolcraft and his current civil legal claim:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_Schoolcraft

Website for the book 'The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation' :http://unveilingnypdcompstat.blogspot.co.uk/ and Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/The-Crime-Numb.../dp/1439810311
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Old 09-04-2012   #18
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I think the address may have more to do with your location than that of the blog. It comes up as secondcitycop.blogspot.com in the US.

They've talked about Compstat a great deal on that blog, and it's never really been in good terms. It's an interesting read for those with an interest in some practices of US law enforcement and Chicago politics.
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Old 09-05-2012   #19
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A great deal of police work is politics.
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Old 09-05-2012   #20
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The fudging of the numbers is an enduring political behavior. We of course do the same thing in Afghanistan to paint the picture we want people to believe. This is one reason I'm strongly opposed to our over reliance on measures of effectiveness, it is just another vehicle for the brass to mislead the American people and Congress, which in turn provides more support for ill conceived policies and strategies. Until we as a nation learn to value the truth we will not effectively evolve our approaches to address serious security problems whether they be crime or insurgencies.
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