Monday, August 21, 2006

Shootout at the Tulane (OK Corral)

We've only had 109 murders in Memphis so far this year. We were over 100 back in June. I thought the professors at MSU were chaining crime to higher temperatures, you'd think there would have been more murders. I mean it's been nasty hot and we've only had a few more murders.

Of course there was a little shooting spree last night at the Tulane Apts. and surrounding area, but that's no big deal (8 people shot). We were doing a little light Fugitive operation down there last year and the gangstahs shot at us as they ran away. Hmm, I had forgotten about that.

I think we have needed to get serious with these gangstahs for a long time, but I was told I'm too aggressive. Well, look who's aggressive now. Someone else is going to die if law enforcement doesn't step up and do the job. Of course, these shootings aren't happening in Germantown, Bartlett, Collierville, Arlington or other municipalities. It's happening in Memphis - Crime capital of the South.

The DA's Office is saying some of the apartments are to blame for crime in the area, but guess what - the whole county is a crime scene. Failure to aggressively pursue criminals, give them the maximum punishment and hold them in jail is the reason we have such a high crime rate.


Anonymous said...

Yep, it's a cesspool for a town. And the leadership has been quiet since the election is over. Guess we won't see them for another 3 1/2 years.

Anonymous said...

"I think we have needed to get serious with these gangstahs for a long time"

What constitutes "getting serious"? What concrete changes would your propose?

John Harvey said...

It's what I call the "hotplate" approach to law enforcement. I'm guessing, like most of us, you have burned your hand on a hot stove. I'm also guessing, that only happened once. You received a negative reward for that activity, and the reward was swift, certain and severe. It modified your behavior, just as it does most every sane persons. So, if law enforcement, the AG and courts work together to target these gangstahs, and administer the punishment that is swift, certain and severe, they will stop their criminal ways - at least in Shelby County.

I think we need to run a zero tolerance effort right in the middle of these areas for an extended period of time, not just here and there, once every other week, etc. I also think we should ask businesses in the county, and private citizens who can, to help fund the effort. This is how they fixed New York City.

autoegocrat said...

This is where we disagree. Every sheriff, politician, or DA in the galaxy promises to "get tough" and all we ever get for it is crowded jails and lawsuits.

Sure, you're going to stop that gangster from causing trouble, but what about the twenty gangsters-in-training sitting in a junior high school classroom right now? No amount of police work will ever solve the systemic inequalities in our society which become breeding pits for criminals.

You say you're going to "get tough" on crime? I've heard that before. You may as well tell me you've got a sharpened baseball bat. The thing is going to clobber someone regardless. I don't want to hear about the power of the bat, I want to hear about the finesse in your swing.

Do you know how they cleaned up New York City? They started going after minor violations and petty crimes, creating a city-wide impression that the NYPD isn't going to put up with anything, period. But even that only reduced the level of crime, it did not eliminate it.

There are places in the world where murders simply don't happen, and without exception those same places are rich with opportunities for young people. If you want to truly put an end to violent crime, start by addressing the fundamental inequalities in the schools and in our economic system. Look anywhere in the world: where crime and violence flourish, inequality abounds.

John Harvey said...

Auto, we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I know what happens in other parts of the world, but we live in THIS part of the world; where broken homes put the funk in dysfunctional. The main reason we have such a high crime rate, IMHO, is that there is a problem with the family in America.

Having said that, the rest of us have to deal with what we have. What we have is rampant crime and a system that actually propagates criminal behavior. Things like handing out the misdemeanor citations to shoplifters are counterproductive. Being more concerned about whether or not the jail is too crowded, when we should be concerned about whether or not the citizens can walk safely to their cars, or live comfortably in their own homes, is another big problem. We send signals to criminals and would-be criminals that say - it's ok, we won't do anything to you.

Until the courts and police start to take a more serious approach, things are not going to turn around. Fighting crime is really behavior modification. You want to extinguish a behavior, turn up the punishment. Take the example of shoplifting for example; if we were to stop issuing citations on that one crime, it would have a major impact on crime. Shoplifters are involved in much more criminal activity than just shoplifting. They steal to feed their drug habits, to get supplies to manufacture crystal meth and other such things. They aren’t typically stealing to feed their families. Some will tell you we are required to issue citations on shoplifters. I say that is not true. There is nothing in the law that prevents us from processing them immediately and letting them go afterward, if they don’t have outstanding warrants or other problems. As I’ve said many times before, we also wouldn’t have over 2000 warrants on the books for Failure to Appear for Booking/Processing.

The plan has already been tried in New York City and found to work. It is high time we did the same here. As for fixing society, as much as it is needed, that isn’t the job of the police.