Manhattan DA Joins The Progressive Side of Law Enforcement Reform

Philip H

Philip H is an oceanographer who makes his way in the world trying to use more autonomy to sample and thus understand the world's ocean. He's a proud federal scientist, husband, father, woodworker and modelrailroader. The son of a historian and public-school teacher and the nephew and grandson of preachers, he believes one of his greatest marks on the world will be the words he leaves behind. To that end he writes here at OT and blogs very occasionally at District of Columbia Dispatches. Philip's views are definitely his own, and in no way reflect the official or unofficial position of any agency he works for now or has worked for in his career. If you disagree, take it up with him, not Congress.

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193 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon
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    Trespassing? Isn’t that how property owners deal with squatters, etc.? Or is that a different charge?Report

    • JS in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      That’s not done criminally, but civilly for residential squatting.

      Now removing someone from a store for being a PITA? Sure, and they don’t even charge most of the time.

      But “This is my property and they don’t live here” versus “Is not and I do”? Cops throw up their hands because it really is pretty he-said/she-said for empty residential properties.Report

  2. DJerry
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    “not paying public transportation fare; trespassing except a fourth degree stalking charge, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration in certain cases, and prostitution.”

    Philip, how can you hope this catches around the country? I suppose you think public transportation ishould actally be FREE? Who pays for this free stuff??? If you live in NY I hope several tresspassers take up residence on “your” property. See how much you like that. And it’s OK with you that government administration should be freely obstructed. This attitude is why NYC (my birthplace) had turned into such a stink hole.Report

    • Philip H in reply to DJerry
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      Most public transportation is paid for with a combination of tax revenue and fares. I have long supported investing more tax revenue in public transit, and less on things like $100 Million a piece fighter jets.

      What I don’t support is the continued criminalization of poverty, especially since the offenses that are no longer going to be prosecuted are for things that systemic poverty generally causes. Take your squatting trespassers. In nearly every case they are trespassing and squatting because they can’t afford housing. continuing to criminalize their behavior doesn’t alleviate that problem.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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        Take your squatting trespassers. In nearly every case they are trespassing and squatting because they can’t afford housing.

        If I’m a landlord, I need a way to deal with squatters. Saying I can’t do that means I can’t be a landlord and will reduce the availability of housing.

        Similarly if I’m a business owner and a crew of homeless take over the sidewalk I’m trying to use to create walk-by business traffic, that’s a problem that may put me out of business.

        We criminalize some of these behaviors because they cause so many problems to specific people.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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          Homelessness is the that everyone wants to solve until they see the price tag.

          Criminalizing it is exactly the single most expensive solution, but somehow the favored “go-to” solution.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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            Depends on which flavor of homelessness we’re talking about.

            The cheap way to get rid of most homelessness is get rid of local zoning being used to prevent (or make very expensive) housing.

            Criminalizing it is exactly the single most expensive solution, but somehow the favored “go-to” solution.

            Criminalizing it gives the police to manage the problem if society doesn’t have (or won’t use) the tools to eliminate it. You can pitch your tents wherever but you can’t do so in front of businesses.

            Society benefits from letting Landlords and Businesses exist.

            We also have bad actors. People who squat in their apartment and refuse to pay rent, not because they can’t pay but because their landlord can’t evict them.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
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              Eviction is a civil proceeding. The NYC DA has zero to do with that.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
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                Squatting (IIRC) is trespassing. Eviction is civil because a contract (the lease) exists, so the person had the right to be there, and the contention is that the right is no longer valid.

                Squatting, on the other hand, is a person who never had the right to be there. There is no contract, the owner never agreed to let them stay there, etc.Report

              • JS in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                How do cops tell the difference between a squatter and a tenant?

                They don’t, which is why trespassing isn’t used to remove squatters. You can’t really squat somewhere people actually LIVE (unless, of course, you’re a tenant that won’t leave — again, a civil matter) — trying is breaking and entering, not trespassing.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to JS
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                Just so we are on the same page…

                If I have, say, an empty storefront and somebody breaks in the back door and begins living there, they are removed via B&E, not trespassing, right?Report

              • JS in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                “If I have, say, an empty storefront and somebody breaks in the back door and begins living there, they are removed via B&E, not trespassing, right?”

                Those aren’t squatters, because that’s not a residence.

                They are trespassing, yes, but they’ve also broken and entered (yes, even pushing open an unlocked door counts! So does gaining entry by means of fraud).

                As it’s not a residence, cops will quickly remove them. if arrested, being charged with misdemeanor trespassing ONLY would be done basically as a warning — akin to ticketing them, rather than a more serious B&E charge. But if the cops chose to arrest them and the DA prosecuted them, they are guilty of B&E (which doesn’t require criminal intent beyond forceful entering) as well as trespassing.

                Police won’t remove squatters from residences, because it boils down to “he-said/she-said” about who actually has the right to live there, and so it ends up in civil court. Unimproved land (like, say, a rural wooded area) would run into the same problem of “who actually owns this” because all the cops know is what both sides tell them. (This gets doubly complex when you’re dealing with former renters because they often have ID with that as their official address, and the owners…don’t).

                If you’re squatting on non-residential zoned land, like a storefront, you literally can’t live there. You’re not running a business there, so the cops will run off (or arrest for B&E) anyone who doesn’t have the keys or isn’t vouched for by someone with the keys.

                In practice, cops can’t deal with squatters and tenet disputes. They lack the information. It’s all done civilly. They won’t arrest anyone for ANYTHING in regards to that, or make anyone leave, absent a court order showing who is supposed to be there. Once you’ve got that court order, yes. But until then they can’t tell who is in the right and who isn’t, even in the most unfriendly state towards renters. So they don’t deal with it.

                The logic here appears to be: “90% of trespassing charges are basically ‘cops discretion’ tickets, which means in practice it’s applied with disparate impact. The other 10% are stalkers and people violating ROs” with the goal being “Stop making nuisance charges and charge them with B&E if it’s actually worth it”.

                All the crap about squatters literally doesn’t apply. Squatting is a civil matter, dealt with through courts, and nobody gets arrested until a court has already decided what’s what and issued an order. In which case, guess what — they’re committing a more serious crime than misdemeanor trespassing.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to JS
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                That makes sense why trespassing would be de-emphasized. I’m all for removing the ability of police to use BS charges.Report

          • Alexander Turok in reply to Chip Daniels
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            Most “criminalization of homelessness” is just enforcement of laws that seem like no-brainers even to most soft-on-crime liberals, laws like “you can’t pitch tents on someone else’s property,” “you can’t defecate in the street,” “you can’t leave your heroin needles on the sidewalk” and “you can’t follow people around and yell at them after they refuse to give you money.”Report

  3. North
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    I was barely even a kid in the late 70’s and Eighties but everyone knows the story. Festering decaying liberal cities rife with out of control crime and liberal administrations blase about the same were one of the factors that ushered in the conservative counter revolution and decades of conservative rule. Maybe this story is wrong? Maybe it’s exaggerated? Still as the stories of proliferating crime and dysfunction multiply across the internet I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a prickle of apprehension. It’s not the late 70’s and 80’s any more. If liberals beclown themselves and cities are flooded with dysfunction it isn’t the old school conservatives from those decades who’re waiting in the wings to slouch into power. Do we really want to invite history to rhyme?Report

    • InMD in reply to North
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      There’s no way in hell it’s going to go well, that’s for sure.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to North
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      It’s like, instead of making big statements about what you won’t prosecute, just say that your office will be de-prioritizing such cases if they are not in the interests of justice. That gives you lots of room to look a case of a serial fare dodger, or a squatter, and choose to pursue those cases, while ignoring that kid who did it once, or the person who is getting evicted by a shady landlord.Report

      • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        Prosecutors can certainly use their discretion in ways other than throwing the book no matter what, and should be encouraged to do so. The big issue with this approach is that it’s completely fake as far as reform goes. Improvements require legislation. The irony is that ‘progressive prosecutors’ will make it that much harder if the perception (and at times reality) is that petty crime has been de facto legalized.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        Sure. The (black) serial fare dodger gets prosecuted, the (white) one-off does not.Report

        • InMD in reply to Dark Matter
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          I think you’re being a bit ironic but that’s another reason this isn’t going to work the way some reformers think it will. It’s a new head on an old corpse.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD
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            I don’t think he is, but I see his point. We already have this state of affairs.

            But at the same time, broadcasting loudly that a list of misbehaviors is getting a pass will either encourage such misbehaviors by the public, or encourage legislative bodies to firm up statutes to demand prosecution.

            Although looking at the list;

            marijuana misdemeanors, including selling more than three ounces; not paying public transportation fare; trespassing except a fourth degree stalking charge, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration in certain cases, and prostitution

            Drug offenses & prostitution are pretty much crimes which offend the state.

            Trespassing is a crime against another (although you can certainly treat trespassing by the homeless far different than trespassing by vandals).

            Resisting arrest is a crime against the state, and is so often a BS charge that I can see passing on that (although will this simply encourage LE to be more violent with arrestees?). I’m assuming that obstructing governmental administration is similar in that it’s like not letting the health inspector in to look for code violations (or is it different?).

            Fare dodging is also a crime against the state, although how much it impacts the budget I have no clue on.Report

            • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon
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              I hear you in principle but this gets why a legislative solution is required. Imagine being the resident of a rough apartment or owner of a small business where you need to walk through a small scale open air drug or prostitution market to get inside.

              Yea those people in the trade shouldn’t be going away to prison and probably most of them would benefit much more from something other than prosecution. But I’m not sure ‘well just deal with it’ is the response to those living among it.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD
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                Agreed, and perhaps this is part of a scheme to get legislative bodies to look at such laws.

                I noticed the DA is declining to prosecute violations of adultery or obscenity – why are those still on the books? This is why I like sunset clauses on Laws.

                As to your point, you could re-write legislation that such public solicitation is a misdemeanor, so police can bust up such open air markets, but not arrest people for offering a fair exchange of goods or services.

                Or, you could go full progressive and legalize both, then regulate them. But that’s just crazy…Report

              • Philip H in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                There are MANY things in our present society and nation that cry out for legislative solutions. And yet legislators seem more interested in posturing then legislating. SO just like a President issuing executive orders because Congress can’t be bothered to do its job, the DA is controlling the part of the system he can to achieve a reform end.Report

              • InMD in reply to Philip H
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                The problem is it isn’t a real solution, is subject to immediate reversal, and whatever limited good it does is almost certain to create the conditions for actual policy change in the opposite direction.

                We’re also talking state legislatures here, not Congress. My understanding is they still pass things once in awhile.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Many years ago, in my criminal procedure class, the professor — a former Manhattan ADA — discussed prosecutorial discretion and used the adultery law as an example. He looked at the crime statistics every year and, invariably, there were no prosecutions for adultery. And a damned good thing, too.
                Then, one year, he found an adultery prosecution in a rural county in far northern New York. He called the DA. Apparently, an influential local citizen came in to the DA’s office with photographic evidence and demanded prosecution. “What could I do,” he said to my professor, “he had pictures.”Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to CJColucci
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                Yeah, somehow I think the issue was less “he had pictures” and more “influential local citizen”.

                Of course, I think everyone else sees that too.Report

            • Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon
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              Note that they’re not prosecuting resisting arrest if it’s the only crime or if the only crimes it accompanies are crimes on the list. If you resist arrest during a felony arrest, they can (and I assume will) still prosecute that. It’s clearly an attempt to make sure cops don’t use “resisting arrest” as the primary charge. It also has the “obstructing governmental administration” on the list, a common charge cops use to arrest people for annoying them.

              The memo also gives leeway on trespassing, beyond stalking. In particular, it gives a lot of discretion to the Early Case Assessment Bureau on trespassing.

              Honestly, I think it’s a really good memo, and I hope they stick to it. We voted for a DA in Austin who’s gone even further, and I think it’s been very good for the city, though it’s so pissed off the cops and their reactionary allies that the next DA election is going to be really difficult.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
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                Getting rid of BS charges that manifest as ‘Contempt of Cop’ is a good thing (IMHO the only way a Resisting Arrest charge should stick is if there is clear video evidence of it, maybe some of these yahoos will remember to turn on their bodycams then).

                As for the rest, ECAB should be aggressively parsing all cases that are misdemeanors or low level felonies.

                What I think most people fear (and this is not necessarily on the DA), is that if the DA says we aren’t prosecuting a crime like trespassing, then police will stop responding to such calls, even when it’s something that really needs intervention, which means the public will start embellishing their reports, like saying the guy in the mall has a gun.Report

              • Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Not responding is exactly what the police did here, using the DA’s pretty open policy as an excuse not to respond to all sorts of things the DA would prosecute (e.g., b&e). I think this has largely cost the police, politically, instead of, as the police had hoped, the DA. Cops and their reactionary allies were beaten handily (70-30) in a ballot measure in November, and public criticism of the police department’s ineptitude (both in the form of intentionally ignoring calls and in just botching them) have become increasingly common. I don’t know that, with a nationwide rise in crime during the pandemic, every city would respond to a de facto work slowing by the police in the face of a DA openly reducing misdemeanor prosecutions the way Austin has so far, but I am encouraged.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
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                People not putting up with that from the police is honestly the only way things change.Report

              • InMD in reply to Chris
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                I am going to predict you’re completely wrong about how the average person will perceive all of this over the long term. Broadly speaking people want to personally be treated fairly by the police. But at the same time they also want good public service from the police when they feel threatened or need help.

                There’s no inherent contradiction in these things but the police and their knee-jerk supporters have convinced a lot of people that there is. The way to improve the situation is by challenging and ultimately disproving that premise. Progressive prosecutors are mostly going to fail because what they are actually doing is accepting the police’s premise, i.e. that it’s one or the other. They’re also handing over the ability to mold that perception to the police and their unions. They’re too well served by the status quo to go along in good faith with trying to change it at the whim of some elected official they don’t even answer to.

                The police will rightly bet that at the end of the day if forced to pick people will prefer the public service when they’re afraid to the fair treatment (of some other person). The whole strategy is so obviously destined to fail I’m kind of shocked so many have bought into it.Report

              • Chris in reply to InMD
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                I worry you’re right, but have hope, especially based on what I’ve seen here, particularly in the face of well-funded pro-police propaganda.Report

              • JS in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Bluntly put, if the only charge that sticks when the DA gets ahold of it is “resisting arrest” — why were they arrested in the first place?

                “I arrested you for no reason, then claimed you resisted that, which is why you were arrested” is quite circular and heavily abused.

                In fact, IIRC, it’s one of the most common charge levied at arrested protestors and often the only one the local prosecutor can even charge.

                The 1/6 riot is interesting in that so many people are actually getting arrested AND charged AND the charges weren’t dropped.

                Watch any left-wing protest and you’ll see a thousand arrests — and 72 hours later all the charges are quietly dropped and everyone goes home, but half of them were booked under “resisting arrest”Report

              • InMD in reply to Chris
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                Accidentally reported Chris’ comment scrolling, it was unintended. Sorry mods!Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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            Just pointing out how it will work in practice. Or how it will be perceived to work.

            Widespread selective enforcement teaches widespread contempt for the law.

            Ditto widespread ignoring the law. That’s one of the disasters of Prohibition and the WoD.Report

    • Philip H in reply to North
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      Maybe it’s exaggerated? Still as the stories of proliferating crime and dysfunction multiply across the internet I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a prickle of apprehension.

      First, there’s always going to be an adjustment period when things change. We still aren’t finished adjusting to COVID yet as a society, so there’s no reason to think adjustments to changes in policing or prosecution should be a done deal either.

      Second, you need to critically examine the present day stories you are hearing. So far, the published crime statistics show that murders are up the last two years, but every other form of crime is continuing its two decade trend downward. IF we aren’t seeing that accurately reported in the media we are consuming – and I’ll agree that we likely are not – then asking why a way better approach then getting knotted up about how. Afterall, conservatives all over the US have managed to get all sorts of voting and election laws passed on the lies about 2020, so its not like the politicians need truth to actually make significant and deleterious change.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to North
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      Still as the stories of proliferating crime and dysfunction multiply across the internet …

      Citation please.

      What is the overall crime rate?
      Do cities with progressive DAs have higher crime rate than cities with reactionary DAs?

      As Abraham Lincoln famously observed, “Just because its on the Internet, doesn’t mean its so.”Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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        Homicides are up. It wouldn’t surprise me that people associate record homicide rates with proliferating crime.

        Additionally, there have been a number of examples of cities not counting crimes that don’t get reported to police (for example: San Francisco’s shoplifting laws). The official stats are down but there is ample evidence that the official stats are not only juked but the officials have talked about how they’re juking them.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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          Lets put a pin in this comment.

          Its a great example of how the “Outtacontrol Crime” stuff always works.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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            “See? Jaybird was right! But he shouldn’t have been. And it’s *BAD* that he was right.”

            What crime stats are you asking us to look at if not homicides?Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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              I believe the claim made was “Stories of proliferating crime”.
              On the internet, of course.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                I found this on NPR. Does that count?

                Violent crime is on the rise in urban areas across the country.

                Many small cities that typically have relatively few murders are seeing significant increases over last year. Killings in Albuquerque, N.M., Austin, Texas, and Pittsburgh, for example, have about doubled so far in 2021, while Portland, Ore., has had five times as many murders compared to last year, according to data compiled by Jeff Asher, a crime data analyst and co-founder of AH Datalytics.

                Most cities in the United States, including each of those named above, have a Democratic mayor. After protests last year over police violence against Black Americans — notably the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis — there has been a push from the left to “defund” police departments.

                Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird
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                So here again we are seeing the media conflate murder rate increases with “Violent Crime” increases driving a story of fear needing to be ginned up. Other violent crimes – rape, aggravated assault, armed robbery – aren’t being discussed. Because they are still trending down.

                What do you think that conflation tells you?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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                Well, that there are competing narratives, that the “official” FBI stats take a while to come in (but homicides are much, much easier to track), that there has been something close to America’s version of a quarantine for the last two years, and the trend was pretty good for a while and we should assume that it would have continued had the weirdness of the last few years not kicked in.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird
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                In every statistic that is publicly reported the trend has continued except for homicides.

                What does it tell you that all the rest of the crime trends are being ignored in the narrative of the rise in crime?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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                Well, partially, I think that it’s because homicides are up there with the worst kind of crime.

                It might even be the worst kind of crime, depending on who you asked.

                So hearing that homicides are up (but home invasions are down) is vaguely gaslightly.

                Additionally, when it comes to other kinds of violent crime, there were some fairly high profile crimes against people of Asian descent in recent months and there was no simple narrative to describe them (though, granted, many tried).

                So the emphasis on bank robberies being down despite these other violent crimes hitting records is weird. Of all the things to downplay!Report

        • Philip H in reply to Jaybird
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          Homicides are up. It wouldn’t surprise me that people associate record homicide rates with proliferating crime.

          That’s exactly Chip’s point. One statistic goes up – during a global pandemic when all sorts of things are out of whack – and the story is CRIME IS UP BE SCARED! Never mind all the other crime statistics have trended and are trending down.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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            Gotta say, if I were trying to make a point that crime was actually going down, I wouldn’t want to make that point during a period of homicide going up at the same time that the authorities have said that they’ve stopped counting minor crimes.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Jaybird
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              multiple data streams make up “Crime statistics.” One is going up, the rest are still going down. That one going up is not enough, statistically, to justify the scary narrative that’s being shoved around, and which you seem uncharacteristically willing to accept.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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                It’s too early to tell if I care about this. If “murder is up” means I have an increased chance of dying while walking around the block, then that’s really bad.

                If it means husbands and wives are killing each other more often, then that’s Covid.

                If it means certain violent sub-cultures (and those forced to deal with them) are doing their thing more often because of the protests, then that’s still not my problem.Report

              • InMD in reply to Dark Matter
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                I’m not Nostradamus but I don’t think I have to be to know that to the extent it’s more than a blip it will be in the usual places involving the usual issues.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
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          Are homicides up, or are random homicides up? Basically, how often are these homicides being perpetrated by family, acquaintances, or known associates? How often are the police left stumped?

          Because sure, homicides are up, but given I don’t know anyone who wants to kill me, or who even doesn’t like me very much, I’m not really all that concerned.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            Oh, I’m sure that most of these homicides are done by people known to the homicidees. No doubt.

            And if we were to look at pictures of all of the homicidees, we’d see that they were OVERWHELMINGLY from bad school districts. If you went to a good school district, you’re overwhelmingly likely to be okay.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
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              This is the kind of disconnect police use to grab more power. Yes, murders are up, but not everywhere, only in specific places, and the police are pretty good at making cases against the suspected killers (although that is not without it’s own issues, but that’s another thread). But that’s not what we hear, we hear murders are up in IL, or in the Chicago Metro Area, or in the City of Chicago. But if you actually put them up on a map, the killings are concentrated in very small pockets.

              So it’s a problem in that we don’t want people killing each other, but it’s not a problem that demands more power and resources for the police. At worst, it demands police concentrate resources in a given area.

              So it’s important to put these things in context, so you know if someone is trying to slip a hand in your pocket.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Fair enough, but they seem to be up in multiple places and in enough multiple places to change the numbers for the year.

                I am okay with arguing against this because the cops will use it to grab more power. That’s great.

                But the arguments against it take the form “but there are other crimes that are down! Like Muggings!” as if that is of particular interest given that we’ve been in a weird pandemic/”lockdown” state for the last couple of years.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
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                Category errors.

                “Crime” is not up, as that category includes all sorts of ‘crimes’.

                “Violent Crimes” are not even up, because most of the sub-categories are trending down.

                Only Homicides are up, and homicides covers intentional and unintentional (gotta be careful to parse that out).

                Killings (of the intentional kind) are up, but overall those are a small percentage of crime, and they are concentrated and not random. No one really has a handle on why (my theory is political + pandemic stress is just tipping people over the edge).

                So you have a small, but particularly sensational crime on the uptick, while all the less sensational crimes are trending down, but people are saying crime is on the rise?

                Sorry, you are giving the game away.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                So maybe this is just a school district thing.

                Hey, if we can isolate the bad school districts, imagine how much better off the people in the mediocre (or the good ones!) might find themselves.

                (Seriously: If the numbers are hitting record numbers and not merely local maxima then we’re in a different place!)Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
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                if we can isolate the bad school districts, imagine how much better off the people in the mediocre (or the good ones!) might find themselves.

                This is true. It also explains a lot of local politics.

                It also works down to the “student” level. Putting all of the bad students in one class means they’re not in my kids’ class.

                Note it’s not just “murder” that is up, attempted murder also is.

                I wondered if this was mis-categorizing suicide as murder, but suicide went down in the pandemic.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
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                No.

                The killings that are happening in an area 5 miles away from me, and which are contained within that area 5 miles away from me, are not impacting the crime I may be experiencing where I live. Killings in Seattle don’t drive porch pirates, car prowls, and catalytic converter theft out here in the highlands.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            We don’t have stats/data for this yet. It takes a couple of years for it to come out.

            From what I’ve heard, it’s no specific group. All races and so on.

            No clue what that means.Report

        • Jesse in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          Homicides rose even in cities w/ GOP mayors and cities who raised their funding for police.Report

      • North in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m not carrying a brief for the “Crime is raging” crowd. I live in urban Minneapolis. I watched suburban white and asian bros knocking over a liquor store across the street while the BLM protests raged and the police hid and strategically encouraged rioting. So I cast a skeptical gaze on the claims. I also think that Democratic Party members should win every election in every state from dog catcher up to President and that we’d all be better off if they did.

        But I still feel the prickle of apprehension on these various subjects because I have no illusions. If maintaining public order becomes a racist policy to the Left/Democrats then I have absolutely no doubt that the voters (minority voters front of the line) will kick our asses out of office. They won’t even be torn about it.Report

  4. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Before I hope that this catches on, I’d like to see how it works out.

    Chesa is doing this sort of thing in San Francisco. It doesn’t seem to be headed in the good vector.Report

  5. John Puccio
    Ignored
    says:

    Philip, you may want to read the entire memo (apologies if you have) and understand what you are signing up for before sincerely hoping these approaches catch on where you live.

    https://www.manhattanda.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Day-One-Letter-Policies-1.03.2022.pdf

    When it comes to things that “truly matter as a society” I imagine the safety and security of family/community and overall quality of life rank pretty high for most people.

    Given the early evidence these type of “reforms” have resulted in SF, Chicago and Philadelphia, I too will hang on to my well-formed skepticism, but for entirely different reasons. These policies will ultimately do more damage to the very communities they are intended to help.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to John Puccio
      Ignored
      says:

      Research shows that brain development continues until up to age 25, youth are physiologically subject to more impulsive behavior, and are still capable of growth and maturation

      This is why the voting age needs to be raised to 25.Report

    • Philip H in reply to John Puccio
      Ignored
      says:

      When it comes to things that “truly matter as a society” I imagine the safety and security of family/community and overall quality of life rank pretty high for most people.

      The safety and security of families and communities is not really impacted by fare dodgers is it? The subway’s bottom line may be, but that’s only because we obtusely continue to believe that public transit should be self funded and thus “profitable” instead of a public service that is fully supported by tax revenue and fares (with taxes making up any deficits).

      As to things like the trespassing/squatting issue – you will get far more “safety and security” by addressing WHY people are squatting then by simply criminalizing their behavior. And the addressing the underlying causes has the added benefit of converting those squatters into more productive citizens.Report

      • Idealist Yanno in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        Public transit should be self-funded, but by the tax-dollars that the converted garages generate. Lack of ability to do math should not be an issue for “self-funding.”Report

      • John Puccio in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        “The safety and security of families and communities is not really impacted by fare dodgers is it? ”

        C’mon Philip, that’s a poor attempt at framing my concern.

        Fare dodging, shop-lifting, etc all seem frivolous individually but they are just symptoms of the greater issue which is zero repercussion for committing or being caught doing an exceedingly growing number of crimes. Add on top of that the reclassification of what constitutes a felony and warrants pre-trial incarceration.

        Any way you want to slice it, these policies result in 1. more criminals in society and 2. greater incentive for criminals to commit crime. That’s irrefutable.

        It really comes down to what people are going to put up with. What’s the “acceptable” level of crime increase a community is willing to suffer in order for these policies changes to stick?

        Of course the well intended UWS progressives are more than willing to suffer a few inconveniences here and there. But they will never bear the brunt. That’s reserved for people who live in places like Bushwick.

        Of course, the Manhattan DA’s latest directive is only a continuation of what has already been happening in NYC for the last few years under DiBlassio. It’s why he is wildly unpopular. It’s why Eric Adams was elected. NYC (at least the outer boroughs) are pretty fed up with how things have gone in their own communities. It’s not a surprise that Manhattan voters are an outlier. All Alvin Bragg had to do was get through a Dem primary there.

        This is is a pretty interesting map. If you’re not familiar with NYC, the purple areas are either the worst neighborhoods in the city or the most “conservative” by NYC measure.

        https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/06/23/nyregion/nyc-mayor-primary-results-precinct-map.html
        .Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to John Puccio
          Ignored
          says:

          the greater issue which is zero repercussion for committing or being caught doing an exceedingly growing number of crimes.

          The same could be said about white collar crime like wage theft which as everyone knows is OuttaControl!!

          The cops need to roll up to Amazon headquarters and start busting some heads.Report

        • Philip H in reply to John Puccio
          Ignored
          says:

          Any way you want to slice it, these policies result in 1. more criminals in society and 2. greater incentive for criminals to commit crime. That’s irrefutable.

          Only because we keep criminalizing things we shouldn’t. Fare dodging only deprives the subway of revenue. It doesn’t increase anyone’s likelihood of physical harm or even other property crimes. That’s why is a misdemeanor – and continuing to prosecute it likely takes up precious resources the DA doesn’t have. Ditto shoplifting – yes it impacts business bottomlines, but it doesn’t increase the likelihood of any physical harm – and in fact given how cops tend to respond the attempt to arrest generally increases the probability of cops going postal on some kid.

          Decriminalize these things, decriminalize marijuana, and close down the War on Drugs (which was never about the drugs) and you are well on the way to social and economic reforms that have way more upside then downside.Report

          • John Puccio in reply to Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            I agree that the system is drowning . Sentences are also too long and overly punitive. Totally agree about the war on drugs.

            However, you have an extremely optimistic view of how decriminalization will end up working in the real world. I’m not sure how you can observe what’s going on in places like SF and Chicago and maintain such optimism.

            https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/17/us/san-francisco-state-of-emergency-crime.html

            And again, the negative societal impact will be felt first and foremost in underserved communities .No banks, no retail, unchecked drug dealing, and prostitution, less personal safety, cops turning a blind eye – how is that considered progress?Report

            • InMD in reply to John Puccio
              Ignored
              says:

              It’s funny, I’ve been following issues with policing for years and there’s a lot of great ideas out there. Probably none would be more impactful than sentencing reform. But also increase diversion. Actually fire police officers and make them liable for their misconduct. Stop deploying SWAT teams for every routine search warrant.

              I never in a million years would have thought ‘stop prosecuting petty crime in spite of the law’ would be the one that stuck.Report

              • John Puccio in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Agree with all. My guess is that part of the “ignore petty crime” policy is directly related to the rightful unpopularity of stop & frisk, exacerbated by police misconduct (e.g. Eric Garner selling loose cigarettes).

                Apparently, it was decided that if they can’t get rid of bad cops, they’ll just get rid of the petty crimes. Problem solved!Report

              • Philip H in reply to John Puccio
                Ignored
                says:

                Well that is the thing the DA controls isn’t it? The prosecutorial discretion part, now isn’t it?Report

      • Alexander Turok in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        Scott Stringer (progressive candidate for Mayor of NYC before he got #MeToo’ed) had this to say about NYC and homelessness:

        “Katheren, just to talk about the De Blasio administration for a second cause you’ve been part of it, what were people thinking when this administration started to double the spending on homelessness from 1.6 billion dollars to 3.2 billion dollars and not reduce homelessness? And not build the housing that we actually needed over the last eight years. Tonight 60,000 people, 30,000 are children, will sleep in some of the most dangerous shelters in the country.”

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whwgnpmLcy0

        The fear I and I think a lot of people have is that no matter how much money is appropriated and spent with the justification that it’s “addressing the root cause of X,” advocates will point to the continued existence of X as proof that “we’re not addressing the root causes” rather than consider that maybe the solutions they’re pushing for are not an effective means of countering the problem.Report

  6. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Is this tweet accurate? (Don’t worry. The footage is a news report. It’s not raw footage that you have to worry about going sideways. It’s merely a news report that you have to worry about going sideways and, I watched it, and I don’t think it did.)

    Because if it’s the case that the DA wouldn’t prosecute this, then we’re going to see more unlicensed concealed carry and more people standing their ground.Report

  7. Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    This sounds like a mixed bag to me. Some of these things I don’t think should be illegal, but looking into the details John Puccio linked, it’s more extreme than implied by the article, and more like the policies that have contributed to the decay of Seattle and San Francisco.

    I don’t particularly want drug addicts to go to prison, but one way or another they need to be off the streets, as do serial offenders for any victimful crime, including misdemeanor property crimes.

    These reformers talk a good game, but on the West Coast, the promised alternatives to prison either never materialized or aren’t working as advertised, and I predict the same in New York.

    Also, I think that failing to prosecute resisting arrest is a terrible idea. Resisting arrest is dangerous to everyone involved, and a factor in most officer-involved deaths. Even when justified, these can negatively affect the whole community via riots and degraded police-public relations. Everyone needs to understand that resisting arrest is a no-win proposition that will always make things worse. It can just be community service or something, but there should be a consistent penalty.Report

  8. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Crime and disorder is always like some sort of Rorchach test.

    So lets talk about where we all get our sources of information.
    Are they direct sources such as:
    How many people here have had a direct personal experience as a crime victim over say, the past 5 years?
    Second hand experience (family member or friend)?
    Third hand (friend of a friend)?

    Or are they indirect sources, like new articles?
    And are they local (like a robbery in your neighborhood)?
    Or are they stories we read about some other events in places distant to us?

    I’ll start.

    For the past 6 years, I have been living and working in downtown Los Angeles, two blocks from Skid Row, and routinely walk through it to go shopping.
    Not once have I ever had any sort of brush with crime- never an assault, never a threat. When I pass by the homeless encampments, I’ve found that if you smile and greet people they almost always respond in kind.

    The only crimes I’m aware of are between people who know each other- two guys getting into a brawl over something, a homeless person being robbed of their stuff, or the occasional shoplifting, or more rarely, the occasional armed robbery.

    I feel entirely safe walking through what many suburbanites are convinced is a hellscape, but is actually a very nice neighborhood. We walk our dogs and have a large circle of fellow dog owners and walkers we meet at the park, and it feels very much like the sort of neighborhood you see in Seinfeld or Friends.

    This is my personal experience, which is always the most powerful type.

    What’s yours?Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      FYI This is how Chip dresses when walking around town.

      (I kid, obviously)Report

    • Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      In our ten years in DC, our house was burgarlized twice. The second time the teenagers who did it were caught a couple of days later. I attended their arraignments at the invitation of the state’s attorney. They were all recommended for pre-trial diversion. After moving south our closest brush with crime was being awakened one night by the local cops who wanted to know if we knew the 20 something man passed out in a stolen car in our front drive. We didn’t, and car and driver were taken away by said cops. My wife has had a hand full of speeding tickets over the years, and we’ve had the usual urban smattering of parking tickets.

      Like you, I used to walk regularly through parts of DC that were not the white picket fence neighborhood and have regular encounters with the homeless. They were all polite if you treated them like human beings. I’ve also witnessed two arrests at Walmart for what I presume was shoplifting – both of black women, and both involving a police presence outnumbering the alleged perpetrators 3 or 4 to 1.

      Beyond that I read the news across a variety of sources. None of this gives me pause about crime rates going up, and like Oscar – above – I am not convinced that rises in homicides during a pandemic are an indication of anything uniformly nefarious staring up.Report

      • Kaffir in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        You lived in DC. Folks who I know who lived in DC did it in the era when there was private security forces most places (and, to be clear, we’re talking American Citizens hiring Private Security to Guard their houses, not the Yakuza).

        You never unearthed a bony hand on a date in DC, I bet.
        You also never lost your wallet onto the ice on the Potomac when someone tried to mug you at gunpoint.

        … I don’t think your description of DC is quite as “worldly” as you think.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Kaffir
          Ignored
          says:

          My description was what I encountered between living there 2005 until mid 2016. I don’t pretend to speak for others, and there are definitely still parts of the city and metro area that are rough. But like most modern urban locations, DC is a combination of many experiences. Its evolving, as are all cities.

          Which means that ones experience prior to mine – or subsequent to mine, won’t match mine.Report

    • CJColucci in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Much the same, and I live in the Bronx.
      Wait, I take that back. Recently, I left my garage door open while going out to do some chores and somebody stole my snow shovel.Report

    • North in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Urban condo had our ground floor CVS sacked during BLM and the liquor store across the street pillaged. The latter was very blatantly done by out of town college aged bros very clearly taking advantage to score cheap booze but I can’t lie and pretend that some elements of the protesters wouldn’t have done it if the out of towners hadn’t.

      Outside of the Floyd protests we have perennial package pillaging and garage break ins at our urban condo. Someone stole the wheels off my locked up bicycle during one of said break ins. Outside of that, though, the Twin cities are ok for my first person crime/disorder interactions. The winters ain’t condusive to the sort of homelessness problems that the West Coast suffers.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      I think it’s sort of like the CHAZ/CHOP. We have a handful of commenters who lived close enough to visit the CHAZ/CHOP. When they did, they said that the area was pretty chill and not a big deal.

      There were only four murders there (and most of them happened at the tail end).

      A lot of people thought that it was silly and goofy and remember the garden that they planted? Lemme search for “chaz garden” on the twitters…

      People talk about the four murders and they don’t talk about the complete and total lack of police brutality that they had in the month between May 2020 and July 2020.Report

      • Philip H in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        What does that tell you about the framers of the narratives?Report

        • North in reply to Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          They’re media. If it bleeds it leads.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          This is why, while I know most journalists are liberal/left/progressive, media itself is not. News media is capitalist, and they know what gets eyeballs and clicks, and it’s not crafting honest headlines and telling nuanced stories about how only a single crime metric is rising and all others are dropping. Nope, it’s ramping up the rhetoric to 11, even though such rhetoric directly feeds into the LE and right wing power grabs.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        My question was for experience of crime and your response is a tweet about something a thousand miles away.

        So this goes in the very bottom category of ” events far away via indirect sources”.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          Chip, asking people “what is your personal experience of murder going up?” if they live in the nice part of town doesn’t give particularly useful information. It gives anecdata.

          Now anecdata is useful when it comes to pushing a narrative this way or that… but if you want to know if there were more murders in the CHAZ/CHOP in one month than there were in the entire year previous to the CHAZ/CHOP… do the stories about how it was a farmer’s market during the day really matter?

          I mean, you’d understand this instantly if you explained that you have had nothing but positive experiences with police (excepting a ticket here or there), right?Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            if you explained that you have had nothing but positive experiences with police (excepting a ticket here or there), right?

            Yup, right here. I’ve seen nothing but professionalism. Even in the context of them being heinously lied to. It was pretty clear they’re used to being lied to and weaponized about all sorts of stuff.

            I’ve seen that in other situations with them as well.
            I claimed to be someone and something, he asked some basic questions that I should know off hand, I did.

            So if I’m claiming to be an employee of X, then I should know where the building at which I work is.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Your comment about CHAZ/CHOP is even more singular and anecdotal than personal experience.

            At least if someone here says that they personally experienced crime, I would understand why they are seeing the world as a dangerous place despite data.

            But here, you haven’t experienced CHAZ/CHOP, and that flurry of violence doesn’t have any affect on the experience of life in Portland (as other commenters who actually live there have testified).

            So this is really just, a news report that you happened to read about something that happened a thousand miles away from where you live. And it doesn’t really have anything to do with the conversation here.

            This is why I am concluding that the “OuttaControlCrime!” narrative is just that, a folk tale of the “I Want To Believe” variety like child Satanic sex cults or something.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              Chip, have you ever experienced police brutality?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I see where you are going, but again, it’s a category error.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I’d be willing to run with that, but there is some serious weirdness going on when people are saying “if you ignore the record murder numbers, crime is going down!”

                Okay. But what if you don’t ignore the record murder numbers?

                What if you want a really good reason to ignore the murder numbers before you ignore them?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s, for a second, ignore the bulk of crimes which are merely offensive to the state (i.e. most drug crimes), and focus on crimes in which a given citizen is a victim. So property crimes, fraud, violence.

                Most such crimes are not ‘personal’, as it were. That is, the perpetrator did not target the victim for any personal reason. These are crimes of opportunity. Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. Even some proportion of violence is (e.g. a bar fight leads to assault charges, but there is a good chance the persons involved were not looking to fight with that person specifically, they were just drunk and stupid).

                Murder, on the other hand, tends to be personal. It may be a crime of opportunity, in that the perpetrator had an opportunity to kill the victim, but it is very rare for the perpetrator to be complete stranger to the victim. Killers are not typically out there killing for the LOLz.

                So if you want me to be concerned that murder is on the rise, and I am not in a violent gang, or living in their territory, or otherwise adjacent to them, you need to show that we have a rise in serial killers, or spree killers, or criminal conflicts are spilling out and claiming innocent, random victims.

                Now, we contrast this with police brutality. Here the problem is not the brutality as much as the lack of accountability. If every cop who beat someone into the hospital or a grave without lock solid justification was immediately suspended and put on trial, and the DA had as good a record of getting a conviction on brutal cops as they do gang bangers, then people would not be more concerned about police brutality than violent crime.

                And in both cases, if perpetrators are seen as not being caught, and not being convicted, then you’d have equivalent concerns, I bet. AFAIK, the police don’t have a ton of unsolved murders with the rise in murders, do they? And the people they catch are getting convicted, right? If that is not the case, please let me know! Because then yes, we do have more of a problem than I was aware of, and either the police are shirking their duties*, or COVID has been breeding a smarter caliber of criminal.

                * Because we all should be aware by now that drug convictions get that sweet federal money, while solving violent crime does not (unless it’s attached to the drug trade).Report

              • John Puccio in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                This is a NYC thread, so if you want to look at other cities and counter with much better clearance rates, feel free to do so.

                But in NYC, 3 out of 4 murders committed in 2018 were solved and it appears likely to be trending lower (56% of cases solved through November were solved- altho that will likely rise some if/when 2021 murders are solved in 2022). Either way, not good.

                https://nypost.com/2021/12/18/fewer-nyc-detectives-means-more-unsolved-murder-cases/Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to John Puccio
                Ignored
                says:

                See, that’s a legit concern.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                No, which is why for most of my life I was of the opinion that complaints of police brutality were a folk tale.

                Until I saw the Rodney King beating. And then had a Hispanic friend tell me his personal story. And read about the Rampart scandal.

                And kept hearing story after news story of police encounters that were nothing like what i experienced, and kept seeing video after video that directly contradicted my personal experience.

                So this is actually a good comparison. What are you seeing/ reading/ hearing that contradicts the data on low crime rates, and why does it seem so compelling?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Chip, I’m seeing that murders are going up. Some places are seeing historic records.

                And dismissing those by pointing out that you don’t know anybody who has experienced so much as porch piracy indicates nothing more than privilege.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t think anyone here is dismissing the spike in murders.
                I started this discussion by asking for cites on the claim of “rising crime” because it isn’t actually rising.

                Then I asked about where we got our sources of information, which we use to create our sense of the world.

                What I am seeing is a world where crime is still very low by historical standards, and a spike in murders that doesn’t seem to be connected to anything else.

                So what is it that you are seeing here, that I don’t?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I am seeing “murders” as being put on par with “jaywalking” and there is a *LOT* less jaywalking than there used to be and people pointing and crowing about how “crime is down”.

                Murders are up.

                Murders are the *BAD* crime.

                Though I appreciate that marijuana busts are down. I do.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t know who you’re reading who doesn’t think murder is *BAD* or equates it with jaywalking but they aren’t worth your time.

                There are a lot more interesting people to read. Some right here on this blog.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I do think that responding to “Murders are hitting record numbers” with “but *CRIME* is *DOWN*!” is engaging in some light shenanigans.

                Have you seen such shenanigans at play?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Why would you think that?
                Both of those statements are entirely true.

                What does this mean to you, that murders are hitting record numbers while crime continues to remain low?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                That “crime” is being defined in a strange and very particular way and that stuff that I would not consider particularly bad is under the umbrella.

                Additionally, I’d probably note that we’re in the American version of a quarantine/lockdown and would assume that that has an impact on the overly-broad definition of “crime” as well.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “crime” is being defined in a strange and very particular way

                It would almost have to be wouldn’t it? Given that the word includes both things that are rising and things that are falling.

                And further, things that we would expect to go in tandem like assaults and murders, or rapes and murders, or armed robbery and murders, aren’t.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The first link says that assault and property crime have returned to pre-pandemic levels.
                The second says that robbery has declined.

                And both are starting from rates which are much lower than in recent decades.

                But I notice that you are fishing, going in search of data to fit the conclusion, rather than the other way round.

                So as I asked before, what are you seeing/ reading that has caused you to arrive at the “Crime is rising” conclusion, despite all evidence to the contrary? (Its not like you spend your time casually reading FBI reports or research papers from the Public Policy Institute of California, right? You must be consuming some other news source)Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s quote the first one, shall we?

                While there were more reported crimes for all four violent offenses (homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault), about three-fourths of the overall increase in violent crime stems from aggravated assaults, the most common violent offense.

                That’s a cut/paste.

                Are you arguing that crime is down because you’re quoting a narrative instead of a study?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m arguing that crime has declined overall for the past few decades and even your links show this.

                You seem to be trying to make some sort of argument that crime is rising, but you aren’t constructing any sort of argument here, you’re just tossing out bits and assorted data points without stringing them into a coherent conclusion.

                And really, it just looks like you have a conclusion in pursuit of data.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree that crime has declined overall for the past few decades.

                But my argument is that crime is now going up.

                And the counter-argument that it’s still lower than it was a few decades ago and therefore it is not rising is not a good counter-argument.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If you want to talk about an increase in homicides being bad – be my guest. Because they have gone up and it is bad.

                But drop the “crime is up cr@p.” Crime, as a category is not up because of how broadly it is currently defined and what it currently encompassess from an arrest and prosecution standpoint. Frankly the DA in question is on to something in that by declining to prosecute certain things, he’s shrinking the definition of crime.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                In the past, we had defined crime too broadly. Now we are narrowing it down. The stuff that we used to think was crime (but it wasn’t, really) is going down!

                And that’s good? I guess?

                But murders are going up. As are a handful of other things that everybody agrees is crime.

                I think it’s great that cops aren’t arresting people for selling loosies. Texas, apparently, passed a backdoor legalization of marijuana (they redefined marijuana as having more than 0.3% THC content… which makes hemp with 0.2% THC or less legal… and cops don’t really have the ability to test THC % and that means that they can’t prove it in a courtroom).

                But murders are up. And crowing that “crime” is down in reference to de minimis crap while murder is going up is deliberately ignoring something very, very, very important.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think it’s great that cops aren’t arresting people for selling loosies.

                We arrest people for selling loosies because it’s illegal.

                It’s illegal because “loosie” typically means “not taxed”. That’s why its so much cheaper.

                Our loosie salesman was also operating in front of a store that sells legal cigs. Explaining to the store owner that he just needs to suck it up and crime isn’t crime won’t impress him.

                So… are we in Prohibition territory where our laws are creating crimes and we shouldn’t be taxing cigs this much?

                If not, then arresting people for selling loosies is fine and what we should want the cops to do.Report

              • Damon in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                There’s another term for selling “loosies”: bootlegging

                I once worked at a factory in the mid atlantic states. One guy in the shop would drive down to virginia or North Carolina, and buy cartons of cigs, and sell them in the shop. Why? taxes are less. OUR state wasn’t getting any of that sweet sweet tax $ so he was committing crimes. Last time I checked, a pack of cigs from a vending machine was going for > 10 dollars a pack-this was at least 20 years ago.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                When we start prosecuting tax cheats at the other end of the scale regularly and harshly, then we can debate arresting people selling loosies . . . til then, the sales of loosies might just be a way for someone to survive in our capitol driven economy. We used to think such origin stories were the bomb.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                We are in “openly and flagrantly breaking the law” territory.

                The tax equiv would be what Westley Snipes tried and yes, it is treated FAR more harshly than selling a loosie.

                Snipes spent years in prision, if he’d just been selling loosies he could have been out with a fine.

                Eric Garner’s problems were resisting arrest, breaking parole, his 30+ other arrests, and his health being so bad.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wesley_Snipes#Income_tax_convictionReport

              • CJColucci in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m fine with making the selling of loosies illegal. But what do you do, and how far do you go in enforcing it? Do you need to arrest someone, or will an appearance ticket do? If you do have to make an arrest for some reason, and he resists, is the same level of force permissible to subdue him as would be permissible to subdue someone actually dangerous?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Do you need to arrest someone, or will an appearance ticket do?

                That is a very good point and maybe a good way to deal with this. However with Garner we were already past that point.

                If you do have to make an arrest for some reason, and he resists, is the same level of force permissible to subdue him as would be permissible to subdue someone actually dangerous?

                You have someone with multiple arrests for violence who is trying to use anger and his size to bombast his way into not getting arrested this time. He’s also very large but not armed.

                Cop’s solution was to get 5 cops to physically overpower him (ideally without hurting him) and another 3? to do crowd control.

                Someone actually dangerous gets tazed or shot. Garner got a wrestling match.

                Ideally they wouldn’t have used a choke hold, but I’m not sure that made a difference. Physically overcoming him was always going to be very stressful and he was in such poor health that lying him prone gave him a heart attack.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Once again, for maybe the third time…

                What this “very, very, important something”?

                You need to actually say it, in words.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s crime, Chip.

                When murder is going up, that means that crime is going up.

                And saying “if you ignore murder, then crime isn’t going up” might be trivially true but I need a good reason to ignore murder and you haven’t provided one.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes murder is going up and I can confidently speak for absolutely everyone here and say that is bad.

                So let’s celebrate that most crimes are declining and work on ways to address the murders.

                Does that sound good?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                It depends on why the other crimes are declining.

                If they’re only declining because they’re not, not really, but we’re saying that they are anyway, then I’m not sure that that’s reason to celebrate.

                What numbers are you looking at for crime in 2021?Report

              • Greg In Ak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Violent crime overall is not up.

                https://jabberwocking.com/the-united-states-is-safer-than-its-been-in-decades/

                One of the weird things in the data is that murder and other violent crime used to be linked by that linkage has broken. Nobody knows why.

                https://jabberwocking.com/raw-data-crime-in-the-united-states/Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Greg In Ak
                Ignored
                says:

                Allow me to copy and paste this line:

                Murders were up by nearly 30%, clocking in at about 6.5 per 100,000. Meanwhile, violent crime in general was up by only a few percent, hitting 400 per 100,000.

                The whole “it is not up” and then linking to a piece that says “it’s only up by a few percent” does not give me a whole lot of confidence, Greg.Report

              • Greg In Ak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The key fact is nobody knows why the stats are showing what they are so everybody should chill with their favorite solutions. Murder is bad and up. It’s up across cities that had demostrations and those that didn’t. There is no easy pattern and crime stats show weird stuff that suggests there is something fundamentally different going on. Likely related to Covid which doesn’t say much more then the obvious.

                It’s good violent crime is steady aside from murder. It’s also good the murder rate is still historiclly low.

                It’s not like people having been screaming about crime being out of control for the past decades when it was way down. Same people freaking about crime in 2017 seem to be freaking now so take that for what you will.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Greg In Ak
                Ignored
                says:

                The internet would be a much quieter place if we waited until we had some idea what was going on and why before freaking out or advocating what we’ve always advocated even when the facts were different.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Greg In Ak
                Ignored
                says:

                Greg, we’re not even in “what is your favorite solution” territory, yet.

                We’re still in “what do the numbers say?” territory.

                And the counter-argument to the “violent crime is going up” people seems to be “no it’s not, here’s some stats” but the stats say that it is. Like, the stats the “no it’s not” people are providing are saying that it is.

                We aren’t even in agreement about what is going on.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Because we really don’t know what’s going on.

                Has the multi decade decline in overall crime stopped, or is this a statistical blip?

                No one knows.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Until very recently, some thought that it was still going down and held that position in the face of evidence otherwise.

                Which is weird, don’t you think?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Crime is going down.”

                and

                “Violent crimes saw a spike last year”

                are both true statements.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                What numbers do you have for “crime”?

                I’ve only seen numbers for 2021 from the “violent crimes went up last year” people.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “So let’s celebrate that most crimes are declining and work on ways to address the murders.

                Does that sound good?”

                well yeah

                it sounds good to me

                but i think that someone who actually wants to do that could probably not start threads where the snottily request a description of our personal history with crimeReport

              • DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Chip, people aren’t saying “let’s celebrate that most crimes are declining and work on ways to address the murders”.

                They’re saying “crime has gone down and people who say it’s gone up are lying or deluded”.

                You’re saying that crime has gone down and people who say it’s gone up are lying or deluded.Report

              • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                You really don’t like to deal in nuance do you?

                Because we are saying that its not true that “Crime” is up when in fact all crime but homicide is down, and we’d like the discussion to be rooted in the actual stats and not broad brush strokes.

                Because – as noted above ins several places – crime is NOT up. One kinds of crime is up, and that appears to be a blip in unusual social and economic circumstances of a global pandemic.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                All crime but homicide is not down. Violent crime is up.

                Here are some actual stats, provided by Greg above:
                https://jabberwocking.com/raw-data-crime-in-the-united-states/Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                that appears to be a blip in unusual social and economic circumstances of a global pandemic.

                Maybe. Another option is we could be looking at a side effect of the protests combined with the pandemic reducing other crime.

                Stereotypical “murder” isn’t “husband kills wife” it’s “criminal kills criminal”. In the murder hot spots, 80-85% of murder victims have serious criminal records.

                The pandemic has been stressful but suicide is down. This is a different kind of stress. The implication is that murder shouldn’t be up if the core issue is mental stress, so maybe we’re looking at the criminal element being more active. Since the bulk of the deaths comes from them, that’s the way to bet.Report

              • John Puccio in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                In NYC murders, shootings, felonious assaults, grand larceny and auto theft are all up.

                https://www.amny.com/news/major-crimes-up-5-percent-as-nyc-entered-final-days-2021/

                Doubling down on national crime stats to make a definitive claim about crime in cities like New York (which is what I thought we were discussing) is largely irrelevant. It’s like looking at a national home price index and thinking that applies everywhere.

                I have not looked at Chicago and SF crime stats, but I imagine they are more in line with NYC than the national averages.

                Or do you think the progressive Mayor of SF who just issued a state of emergency to handle the crime wave there is just falling for a false media narrative?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                So let’s agree that murders are up 30% and violent crime is up a few percent.

                But the overall trend is downward right? I mean, a one tick upwards is different than a sustained trend?

                And, for the fourth time, are there any big conclusions that can be drawn?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                So let’s agree that murders are up 30% and violent crime is up a few percent.

                Yes.

                But the overall trend is downward right? I mean, a one tick upwards is different than a sustained trend?

                I think we’re two or three years now with murder being up.

                JB is correct that we should be concerned. However it’s too early to draw conclusions; I think we don’t get answers until two years after the virus ends.

                We might be looking at side effects of the pandemic, but we might also be looking at side effects of police reform.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                If the foundation of our arguments about what we should do is based on “violent crime is going down”, then we’re going to find ourselves in a place where our arguments crumble and if our proposed policies work, they’ll work by accident and not because they’re reality-based.

                If the argument was “we’ve had crime go down, down, down for decades and now we’re regressing to the mean”, then that’s at least a statement that acknowledges what’s happening with the actual numbers.

                As it is, it reminds me of the inflation arguments from last year.

                It’s not happening.
                Okay, it’s happening but it’s only minor.
                Okay, maybe it’s major but it’s good actually.
                Okay, maybe it’s not good actually but it’s the fault of greedy corporations.

                Okay, maybe violent crime is going up but it’s only a couple of percent and nobody I know has to deal with it.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Inflation is happening, but only for things like food and gasoline! In many other sectors of the economy like video games and movies, prices have remained stable or even fallen somewhat!”Report

              • Damon in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                And gas/diesel, etc.

                Yeah, the prices of many things are constant or declining, like computers, but I don’t buy a computer every year. I do buy food and fuel very frequently. I’ve always chuckled at the economists who claim that prices of many things are falling so overall, we’re better off. Yah, not when the things I buy the most often are going up.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “And the counter-argument that it’s still lower than it was a few decades ago and therefore it is not rising is not a good counter-argument.”

                It’s sort of like hearing someone ask whether there’s been more disease lately and replying that in the past two years, flu deaths have been at record low levels, and therefore we’re making a lot of progress in treating viral respiratory disease.Report

              • Alexander Turok in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “So let’s celebrate that most crimes are declining and work on ways to address the murders.

                Does that sound good?”

                Not really. You seem to believe that murders just shot up for no reason at all around the summer of 2020. It’s a giant mystery, right? I’d have little faith in cooperating with a communist who agreed on an abstract level that economic growth was good but then argued it was a massive coincidence that West Germany was richer than East Germany.Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              The lesson from CHOP should be that society falls to pieces without law enforcement and it has no relevance to what society looks like otherwise.

              You are correct to dismiss antidotal evidence. As for whether we’re seeing an increase in crime, imho it’s unclear.

              People care about murder a lot. Other crime not so much. You maybe correct in that it’s just murder that is up, but that may be enough.

              We’re missing important pieces of data, and Covid distorts everything.Report

          • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            “Chip, asking people “what is your personal experience of murder going up?” if they live in the nice part of town doesn’t give particularly useful information. It gives anecdata.”

            It actually gives quite useful information if the only tool in your argument kit is “No True Scot”.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
              Ignored
              says:

              Its very useful to determine where people are getting their information.

              Like, absolutely no one here arrived at their conclusion that “crime is up” by perusing FBI stats.

              And no on here appears to have arrived at their conclusion by personal experience, or even second or even third hand experience.

              The conclusions were arrived at mostly by media reports and op-ed pieces.
              Nothing wrong with that! That’s a perfectly good method of getting our information about the world.

              But it needs to be vetted and bracketed with caveats, namely that media tends to over- emphasize disorder.
              Like, a 5% increase in assault gets reported breathlessly, without the context that this was a small uptick in a long downward trend.

              Because we should all take note of how we got into this discussion, which was a report about police reform.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Like, absolutely no one here arrived at their conclusion that “crime is up” by perusing FBI stats.

                I think it’s interesting to see the stats that have been given.

                Much more interesting than whatever narrative. (Though there do seem to be some narratives that are incompatible with the stats.)Report

      • Dylexics Unite in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        The water fountains were great. “Blacks Only” water fountains, for Colored People.Report

    • Chukka in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      I have been the victim of a crime within the past 5 years. So has my husband, and his executive assistant. Nearly every person I know of, online, has been the victim of a bodily crime within the past 5 years.

      But I’m not trying to say cities are especially violent.

      Last week, 90% of New York women (primarily from NYC) on dating services said they were vaccinated. This week, it is 30%. Either last week, or this week, women were lying. If this is viewed as deceit with intent to defraud (causing someone to enter into a marriage contract that they would not have otherwise)… it is a crime.

      Most people are victims of crimes like this. Including you, I am certain. Failure to obtain informed consent is a crime, after all — and that’s not even getting into forced medical experimentation and the Nuremberg Codes.

      Wanna come play actuarial tables with me? Can you count higher than three sigma?Report

      • JS in reply to Chukka
        Ignored
        says:

        “I have been the victim of a crime within the past 5 years. So has my husband, and his executive assistant. Nearly every person I know of, online, has been the victim of a bodily crime within the past 5 years.

        But I’m not trying to say cities are especially violent.

        Last week, 90% of New York women (primarily from NYC) on dating services said they were vaccinated. This week, it is 30%. Either last week, or this week, women were lyin”

        I know who is lying right now.Report

  9. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    It must be difficult to moderate a site nowadays, trying to determine:
    Deranged rando, or upstanding Republican office holder? Who can tell?Report

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