Advertisements

The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the tag “crime”

Video Cameras for Police

An article today in the New York Times demonstrated that police wearing video cameras did virtually nothing to change the behavior and especially the use of force by police. The study was done in Washington DC and contrasted the behavior of police with or without cameras. The results were almost identical.

This could be a major setback for those of us who have argued that cameras will make a difference. There is no solid evidence as to why these results occurred. Written by Paul Dribin

Advertisements

`Is There a Way St. Louis Can Grow Because our Cost of Living is Reasonable

I just read an article which states the obvious, high end workers will move to places such as San Francisco or Boston to take advantage of the higher paying jobs. Regular people, both professional and blue collar cannot make that move due to the extremely high cost of housing in those locations.

St. Louis needs to figure out a way to harness our pluses; an affordable cost of living and world class cultural attractions. I think that is a big deal. I would even suggest flying recent college graduates here for a weekend to show them our pluses. Pittsburgh is an example of a city I considered to be much like St. Louis that repositioned itself as a trendy place.

The big negative in St. Louis is the crime situation. Virtually everyone except civil rights activists feel it is the number one problem facing the city. Few people seem willing to acknowledge this issue. Written by Paul Dribin

Correlation Between Crime and Housing Values

An interesting article today reprinted by Next St. Louis. A comprehensive review using regression analysis shows there is very little correlation between crime and housing values. This is a little surprising to me. Part of the reason in the St. Louis area is that housing values are relatively low anyway all over the region. Another interesting part of the analysis is that when you aggregate crime statistics for the city and county, the incidents of crime are relatively low. The high crime areas in the city are as high as anywhere in the world. Written by Paul Dribin

Lyda Krewson

I usually don’t get into politics, but my first public administration class pointed out you can’t separate politics from policy. Elliot Davis of You Paid for It Fame on tv wrote a passionate facebook post in which he postured that Mayor Krewson the first woman mayor of St. Louis is not up for the job. He provided a number of good examples.

Unfortunately, I would have to agree with Elliot. She seems like a nice person but is just going through the motions of being mayor. She has not leadership skills. If I was a police officer or member of an officer’s family, I would have been outraged after her comments making nice to the demonstrators and indirectly criticizing the police. She has done nothing substantive to address crime, job loss, or racial inequality. The Mayor likes to have feel good meetings and is using that process to take 9 months to hire a police chief. I also think the effort to lure Amazon here is a waste of time and money. Written by Paul Dribin

A More Balanced View of Protests in St. Louis

I have grown tired of the characterization of some in the protest movement here in St. Louis that police actions alone or mostly are the cause of problems in the black community. Let’s look at the data. To date there have been 144 murders in St. Louis to date. Of these 135 of the victims, or 93.75% are African American and all the suspects are African American. Police might kill a handful of people a year, and most of those killings would be considered justified by an impartial party.

The focus of the protests have been on the police. Even if the police totally cleaned up their act and never killed anyone, there would be a big murder and crime problem in the black community. Through the years when I have worked with impoverished African American communities, when asked what they need, residents asked for more police. If the police were so terrible, why did they want more of them?

Finally I am concerned that the community expects a level of perfection from police that is not possible from them or anyone else. Sometimes they will say stupid things or act harshly. There is no question the police, too often act prejudicially and inappropriately with members of the black community. Protesters have done a real service in pointing out the injustices of the municipal court systems. But even the prejudicial behavior can be somewhat explained because usually what the police see is criminal behavior. We all need to be a little tolerant, understanding, and mindful of the facts. Written by Paul Dribin

Amazon Deal Will be Killed by Social Unrest

Reuters ran a story today which said that there would be no chance to St. Louis to be selected by Amazon for its’ headquarters due to the social unrest here. This of course is not a surprise. Written by Paul Dribin

The Racial Divide in St. Louis-The Elephant in the Room

I have been reluctant to write about the racial divide in St. Louis but can not longer hold back. The action by the St. Louis City Council to honor Anthony Smith, a victim of police violence, but also a convicted criminal, and drug dealer who attempted to resist arrest by ramming his car into police is too much for me. Have we set the bar so low we cannot find other victims of violence to honor? How cowardly of these elected officials.

I certainly agree that policing in the St. Louis area needs major transformation. The outcomes of the Ferguson Commission need to be followed. At the same time we need to recognize that 300 African Americans are killed annually by members of their own community not the police. With the possible exception of Charlie Brennan and Elliot Davis, nobody is talking about this issue. This is a small portion of the community that is bringing everyone else down.

Protesters talk about the need to be heard. Voting and participating in the political process would improve access. A stronger voter turnout in the African American community would have resulted in a black mayor being elected in St. Louis, adding to a black President of the Board of Aldermen, Comptroller, City Treasurer, and Prosecuting Attorney.

Given our turmoil, why would anyone want to locate a business in St. Louis. Written by Paul Dribin

St Louis Can Really be a Good Place to Live

St. Louis is taking it on the chin, much of it deserved. There are demonstrations in the streets, unjust policing, crime, murders, racial strife and more. I believe much of the criticism of our city is on target but unfair. Much of the national coverage makes our city seem as though our problems are unique; they are not. I don’t need to run statistics for most of you to understand that other cities share our problems. We have a lot of good things and people in St. Louis and have first rate cultural attractions, sports, universities, and restaurants. Our problems are not unique, are positives are. Written by Paul Dribin

Metrolink Again

More bad news about Metrolink. I know a guy who does various assorted tasks for Metrolink. He provided me with some amazing information:

1. He gets paid to ride the trains and check on service, safety, etc. He rode them hundreds of times last year and was never asked for a ticket.

2. When the police were on the trains they would not confront bad actors.

3. At some high crime Metrolink stops the police forced drug dealers onto trains so they would go elsewhere.

4. The crime levels at most stations are high.

Written by Paul Dribin

The Ferguson Effect?

The so called Ferguson effect is the premise that crime has increased in St. Louis and other large cities because police are not aggressively going after criminals; fearful that aggressive action will get them in trouble. This theory was promoted by former FBI Director Corey and denied by former President Obama.

I have two pieces of information, one data driven and the other anecdotal that supports the Ferguson effect as valid. First the data. I know an attorney who has made his living defending down and out criminals. He received his clients by buying a list of people arrested in St. Louis County and sending letters of inquiry to these individuals. After Ferguson, the names on the list of arrestees dropped significantly from a long list to a short list. His business is hurting to the extent he is seeking other types of employment.

The second piece of evidence concerns by conversations with two female African American St. Louis City cops. I had counseled both of them in a SCORE mentoring session in which they were trying to start a new business. After the conversation I asked them if Ferguson had an effect on policing. Their answer was that it most certainly did, and that cops would now only go by the book and not be aggressive. They also said that aggressive policing is what captures major criminals.

So I believe I have two good pieces of evidence to show that the quality and quantity of policing has diminished since the Michael Brown death. Written by Paul Dribin

Post Navigation