Apparently civilians have blocked a section of Minneapolis with a gate to protect their neighborhood, that is according to the August 7, 2020 issue of The Week. The cops are cool with this it seems. As long as the civilians let emergency vehicles through, they don’t interfere. As much as the police rail against the whole Defund the Police Movement, aren’t they making the argument that they aren’t the best people to take care of neighborhoods? Well, science seems to think so. And they’ve known it for about half a century.
Cops have no real role in preventing crime or improving public safety, but don’t take my word for it. In a book by Didier Fassin titled Enforcing Order, he cites a yearlong experiment in Kansas City that was carried out in the 1970s:
“This unprecedented study, unique at the time, compared three zones of the city: in the first, ‘reactive,’ crews limited their activities to responding to residents’ calls; in the second, ‘proactive,’ they at least doubled the time they spent on patrol; in the third, serving as a ‘control’ zone, they continued their previous mixture of activity. The results of a full year of operations and measurement appeared identical: neither attacks on persons, whether assault and battery, sexual assaults or muggings, nor attacks on property, whether burglary or damage to vehicles, varied significantly as a result of the different systems implemented; similarly, the experience of crime and the feeling of insecurity as reported by residents and business owners showed no variation between the zones, nor did the level of satisfaction with the police; and it turned out that in all three cases, 60 percent of the officers’ time was spent on activities not directly related to law enforcement, including a quarter bearing no relation at all to police work… Ultimately, it was evident that the patrols used preventively had no effect on crime, either in terms offenses recorded by law enforcement or from the point if view of residents’ perception of risk.”
To distill the previous quote into a single line: More police presence does not equal less crime. Unfortunately, politicians can’t stop spewing nonsense long enough to read a scientific paper or two. If they did, they might actually learn something and stop wasting taxpayer money on stuff that doesn’t work. Even our Great White Democratic Hope Joe Biden, supports more funding for the police. My advice to him is to use the quarantine time spent in his basement to read more nonfiction — like The End of Policing, Police for the Future, and Enforcing Order. You know, stuff without pictures.
So now that you know that police are often useless, what do we do about it? I assume roving vigilantes and frontier justice are probably not your thing.
The common sense solution that criminal justice reform advocates promote are social and mental health workers are sent out to solve problems without the ability to shoot up a neighborhood. I agree, but would take it one step further.
We also need to decriminalize morality and get rid of laws that don’t make us safer but only allow cops to shove their weight around. Drug possession and prostitution would be a great place to start.
So in closing, cops don’t make you safer.
Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 50 years for the politicians to figure that out.