Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cops Matter To Lower Crime Numbers

There were a couple of interesting pieces in the news yesterday about crime stats. The first is this piece over at The Crime Report where Ted Gest quotes Professor Franklin Zimring as to the reasons for the drop in crime in New York City over the past few decades.
The major factor in the decline has been better policing, he says. 
"Cops matter a heck of a lot more than professors and policy makers have thought", he told the association’s annual forum on criminal justice and public safety, held this year in Jersey City, N.J. 
One particular area of police effectiveness is on drugs. 
Public drug markets have disappeared in New York City, although the city still has some major drug problems, Zimring said. He didn't elaborate on the kinds of policing he finds most effective. 
He added that in the anticrime picture overall, "prisons matter a lot less than we thought", and the economy has not caused crime to increase, as many have theorized.
I am really encouraged that he stressed just how important the cop on the street is in combating crime. In my mind, the most bang for the buck comes through your local law enforcement agency. This isn’t to say that the rest of the criminal justice system isn’t important, but the reality is that they have the greatest deterrent effect on criminal behavior, especially when they are practicing the most effective and efficient law enforcement possible.

The other stats story I thought was interesting was this one from the Dallas Morning News Crime Blog where they had a bit about the recidivism rate in Texas versus some other states.
Perhaps more encouraging is that Texas' recidivism rate is lower than the national average. 
The recidivism rate in the Lone Star State hovers around 32 percent. In 2007 Minnesota had the highest recidivism rate with about 61 percent while Oregon had the lowest at just under 23 percent.The national numbers show about four out of every ten inmates returns to prison.
I was really surprised that Texas' was so low. It sometimes seems that we are arresting the same offenders over and over. I does also make you wonder what Minnesota is doing to get a recidivism rate like that.

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