A Study in Stupidity
- In less than a decade, residents have seen hundreds of POD cameras or police operational devices go up in Chicago neighborhoods. But what impact have they had on fighting crime?
The highly-respected Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. has come out with the first comprehensive analysis of the cameras. The group wanted an in depth look at how police use cameras to fight crime in Washington, Baltimore and Chicago. The first two cities remain a work in progress.
For Chicago, the study's architect says, the early results are quite positive.
- The Urban Institute set out to study the effectiveness of the cameras as a crime-fighting tool. Using a sophisticated model, and three years of data, researchers sought to find - do the cameras lesson [sic] crime? Do they just move it? Is there a cost benefit to their use?
- Dr. Nancy LaVigne led the study which focused on two neighborhoods - Humboldt Park and West Garfield Park. Each has a fairly high concentration of cameras.
In Humboldt, the conclusion is that the cameras have had a real impact. Drug, robbery, weapons offenses, and overall crime dropped significantly after cameras arrived.
The same, however, is not true in West Garfield where there was no signficiant [sic] change pre and post camera.
So why would they have an impact in one neighborhood and not in another? There are a number of possible explanations, but the short answer is researchers don't know. What they can say, however, is that if you combine the numbers from the two neighborhoods, the cameras still have a significant impact on crime.
West Garfield Park is a disaster zone. It has been for over 50 years. It's overwhelmingly Black, suffered through the King riots, decades of urban neglect and decay, the Crack Wars, and a series of crooked politicians who took mere pennies to use the entire area as a dumping ground for millions of tons of contaminated construction debris.
Humboldt Park is a former Puerto Rican stronghold that has morphed into a gentrified neighborhood that could rightfully be called a turnaround of miraculous proportions. The shops, stores and loft buildings that occupy former flop houses, abandoned structures and decrepit factories now entertain thousands of yuppie residents. A thriving art, club and music scene provides entertainment to suburban tourists. The site of many riots back in the 1970's, the area has since rebounded and priced out lower income families along with much of the criminal element.
In short, a comparison of West Garfield and Humboldt Parks is a study in opposites. And claiming POD cameras had anything to do with it is to ignore the realities on the ground. And these quotes just make our stomachs turn:
Fewer crimes means you spend less on investigation, less on the court system and less on victims of crime.
"We found that for every dollar spent on cameras, there was over a $2 savings in terms of the money that was averted for the crimes that were prevented," said Dr. LaVigne.
How about this - let your Detective Division dwindle by 700 or 800 Detectives - voila! - fewer crimes. Instruct your States Attorney to deny felony charges in most cases, "CI" the other cases, accept quick misdemeanor guilty pleas for forcible felonies and guess what? Less investigation and less court time!
We could go on, but the cops reading already get it. The question is - does anybody else?
Labels: silly people