Stopping Cars Isn't Solving Crimes
When charges would no longer stick, police largely stopped arresting suspects accused of minor crimes, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison told The Washington Post. The policy coincided with a 20% drop in violent crime and a 36% decrease in property crime.
While correlation doesn't equal causation, those statistics defy the broken-windows theory of policing that stresses crackdowns on petty nuisances as a violence-prevention tactic.
A 2015 meta-analysis linked "disorder policing" with lower crime rates, but researchers emphasized that "aggressive order maintenance strategies that target individual disorderly behaviors do not generate significant crime reductions."
Community policing models that rely on relationship-building and officer visibility can curb crime without the need for large numbers of low-level arrests, the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University concluded in a review of broken-windows theory research.
Policing needs to be reimagined, not defunded. Reform advocates could shatter the left-right paradigm and build broad consensus behind a clarion call to beef up detective bureaus and thin the ranks of road pirates raking in revenue one broken taillight at a time.
Skeptics can't credibly claim that deprioritizing traffic enforcement and curtailing arrests for victimless offenses is "soft on crime" if redirected resources lead to higher arrest and prosecution rates for murder, rape, robbery, burglary and aggravated assault. The insistence that cops sweat the small stuff to the detriment of complex investigations is what's really been coddling criminals all along.
Police stations may have little in common with hospitals, but they'd better serve their communities by adopting an emergency department's triage mentality.
Corey Friedman is an opinion journalist who explores solutions to political conflicts from an independent perspective. Follow him on Twitter @coreywrites. To find out more about Corey Friedman and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.