Sunday, February 11, 2007

Stop the Crime

Crime seems to have moved to the forefront of the local discussion recently, and for good reason. If you live Uptown, no doubt you've received e-mails warning of criminal activity in the past week, such as the armed robbery at Gulf Stream and attempted break-ins on State Street and Henry Clay. Coverage of crime now dominates the local media and has spilled over to the national media.

For an idea of how to effectively fight crime, see Rudy Giuliani's book "Leadership." In it, he talks at great length about how he transformed New York City after years of neglect. It is often referred to offhandedly as the Broken Windows Theory, but that is overly simplistic. It started with the premise that addressing conduct that had previously been thought of as minor nuisances to which the criminal justice system should not be allocating its limited resources, such as public intoxication, littering and loitering, would help foster an attitude of lawfulness throughout the city, but it quickly led to far greater results. Officials found that some of the people arrested for these petty crimes were wanted for other, far more significant crimes, for which they could now be charged and prosecuted.

The success built upon itself and led to objectively remarkable evidence of greatly reduced crime and improved quality of life. As part of the process, Giuliani tracked crime statistically and would grill his subordinates to achieve results, neighborhood by neighborhood. The thoughtful analysis of the statistics helped them understand the causes of some of the crime and anticipate some of it before it happened, allowing them to effectively redeploy resources as needed. Rudy held himself and his subordinates accountable at every step of the process.

Giuiliani's system had three hallmarks: competence, leadership and accountability. Unfortunately, we in New Orleans are stuck with elected officials who lack all three qualities. Therefore, any success in fighting crime will likely need to come from the bottom up rather than from the top down.

Report crime and demand that it be punished, whether a lesser quality of life issue or a more significant crime. Demand action from the Mayor, the District Attorney, the Police Superintendent and the City Council. Replace Eddie Jordan as District Attorney, and not with another political hack but with a competent leader who will achieve results. Replace those criminal court judges who are more concerned with criminals' rights than victims' rights.

Support groups and organizations involved in the fight on crime, such as: Signal 26, Nola Against Crime, Crime Stoppers, Silence is Violence, Vest Up, PANO, the Metropolitan Crime Commission, Danziger 7 and the like (post a comment here if there are other worthwhile groups I inadvertently neglected to mention). Take action to protect you and your families from crime. There are many good resources on the internet for information on home defense and related subjects.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would add the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation.