Thursday, December 29, 2005

December 29

Early this week, says Gus, was one of the deadliest 24-hour periods of the year, bringing the murder total to 267 (and if it's really that low, it's not from a lack of trying). Fatalities included Alvester Rozier, 79 and Travis Harris, 15.

The man on fire on Christmas Eve on 83 in Hereford been identified as Wesley Cleon Person, 26, of PA.

WJZ: "Croften" teen Thomas Reimann opened fire on parents with semiautomatic.

Dennis "Shabba" Burke, aka Tyrone Blackwell, was arrested in Baltimore for the 1994 murder of 22-year-old Richard Jones of Oak Hill, WVa.

In Columbia, a man named Harsh Thakkar was shot in the parking lot of Bennigan's.

A 24-year-old woman was sexually assaulted during a home invasion in Woodlawn.

An 18-year-old is being charged with manslaughter after a drunk driving wreck that killed teens Zachary Ondrish and Keith Flem.

A man was arrested for running a meth lab in the 'deener

A variegated plethora of east-side criminal activity in the Dundalk Eagle "Crime and Punishment 2005" feature.

Post: Crime reduction is "O'Malley's biggest accomplishment". Mmmkay... well... anyway... the story does go on to have some interesting tidbits: more than four-fifths of the year's murder victims had criminal records, and the victims had been arrested on drug charges an average of 3.5 times. And for some reason Doug Duncan passed out a flier about the guy who was beaten to death with a cane (most smacked-out city in America, indeed).

15 comments:

John Galt said...

So, let's recap:

from 2003 to 2004, murder increased to 276 and violent crime increased by over 4%.

As of the half-year 6/05, homicide was unchanged this year and crime was essentially unchanged, except perhaps for a small reduction in larcenies.

( see link, at
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/2005prelim/table4.htm#ac )

Now, this year's murders are trailing last year by 9 with a few days left on the calendar, and we should expect to end the year about even with 2003.

Bottom Line: nothing has changed!

Please don't allow your political leaders to get away with it. City Council Public Safety committee is holding hearings in February:

February 1, 2006
Executive Appointments Committee

5:00 PM LO-0009 Baltimore City Police Department - Bi-Annual Review Hearing

The committee will review the Commissioner's performance. Call your councilman.

John Galt said...

Crime reduction is O'Malley's greatest accomplishment?

Huh?

Nationally, crime is down about 40% from the mid-Nineties, for largely demographic and exogenous reasons (aging of the population, availability of legal abortion, the increase nationwide in jail capacity, and the equilibration of the crack epidemic of the prior decade.) And also, 'It's the economy, stupid.'

All that being the case, Baltimore is... exactly where it was relative to other, better cities. That's why we remain the second-worst large city in the Nation.

So, O'Malley's greatest accomplishment was.... what again ????

Howard Roark said...

News Flash: Mayor achieves 0% crime reduction relative to the nation as a whole.

Now, THAT'S a headline.


Let him put that on his website.

JG said...

And here I thought his crowning achievement was in understating last year's crime stats reported to the FBI, at least until they rejected them, investigated BCPD, and restated them upward.

Galt said...

Now, the way we'd go about it in the private sector would be to set a feasible target for acceptable level of crime, let's say 1/2 of today's level, which would still be at twice the national average in metro areas.

Then, phase in that 50% by, say, 8 per cent, year over year.

This, then, becomes a soft target each year, while the cumulative reduction is the hard target.

The Commish is fired if he misses the soft target twice or the hard target once. This flexibility allows for the logistics of recruiting to the academy, which is an aggregated supply of resources.

Needless to say, it's quite rudimentary to estimate the manpower requirements to accomplish the annual benchmarks.
That manpower, the amount needed to reverse decades of cumulative behavioral neglect, won't be cheap in dollar terms. It's certainly more than the amount of money pilfered from the budget for essential services over the years. There is no real choice in the matter. You either foot the bill, or become resigned to being Detroit-East. In that latter case, I'll be the first rat off this sinking ship.

Lenny Hamm is a very nice man, and best suited to Detroit-East. I encourage the State to take over control of a police department which chooses to subject its citizens to absurd levels of crime, in just the same way that the State has had to seize the reins of the Baltimore City Public School System.

elliot said...

John,

Let me get this straight. In your second post, you allege that the reduction in the national crime rate is due to population shifts, economic forces, and huge infrastructure investments:

"Nationally, crime is down about 40% from the mid-Nineties, for largely demographic and exogenous reasons (aging of the population, availability of legal abortion, the increase nationwide in jail capacity, and the equilibration of the crack epidemic of the prior decade.) And also, 'It's the economy, stupid.'"

Then later, in your solution, you propose holding your (state-funded, politically impossible) police commissioner accountable for an 8%/year reduction in crime.

"The Commish is fired if he misses the soft target twice or the hard target once."

So the police commissioner is going to be responsible for remaking our local economy, building, funding, and staffing prisons, keeping abortion legal, etc?

The hole in all of your arguments is that you seem to feel that crime is only a function of law-enforcement competency, when in fact we have no idea what exactly makes crime fluctuate. Economics seems to have a large part to play, as does education and yes, law enforcement, but no one knows how to manipulate these factors to produce the result of a lower crime rate.

If it was as easy as "phasing in" an 8% reduction in the annual crime rate, don't you think it would have happened already?

elliot said...

Also, the 40% reduction in crime in the nineties was not a drop off a plateau, but a fall from a steep peak.

It is still more dangerous everywhere than it was in 1980.

John Galt said...

BTW, we (Baltimore City) still have more violent crime within our paltry 135 mi. sq. than the majority of states in the nation each contain with all their counties, cities, towns, and villages added together.

That's staggering. Wish we had an ECONOMY the size of Wisconsin's, instead.

John Galt said...

Elliot:

The items I mentioned are environmental contributing (or limiting) factors. When they improve, all boats rise, even Baltimore's.

As for crime reductions beyond those limited by these factors, these crime reductions would necessarily be a function of strictly local variables. Notice I dids not speak of LOCAL economies, you did. Baltimore's residual crime (that remaining after the rise of all boats) is somewhat a function of our local economy, but primarily is due to our permissive attitudes.

Understand, you'll never get crime down to zero, it contains stochastic and unpredictable elements. However, this is not to say that the nondeterministic portion (def: the part with a nondegenerate distribution) has probabilistic expectation of zero. In other words, if you have no way of guessing where a robbery is likely to occur, you cannot readily deploy for it, except by cruising randomly and hoping to be in the right place at the right time.

Now, suppose instead you know something. Suppose you know that a particular sector is 50% populated by bank robbers, while neighboring sectors are populated by choirboys. Then you can increase you odds of apprehending a robber and removing him from the economically-active population by incarceration by concentrating enforcement resources there.

If, instead, you deploy but few there and experience massive robberies, you cannot very well exclaim "Who knew?".

Baltimore has a great deal of extremely predictable, reasonably anticipated crime. Our offenders are dyed in the wool, for the most part. Career criminals. Long rap-sheets. They exhibit exceptional chronicity (the number of offenses committed relative to the offense for which they are caught)

One model of crime holds that by and large, no one is predisposed to crime and every now and again, someone unexpectedly turns rogue and holds up a bank/burgles a house/goes postal in a 7-11. If everyone has equal (and quite small) likelihood of going rogue, we would hardly want to incarcerate everyone on that chance.

If, however, the likelihood of being rogue is concentrated among a smallish group of offenders with observable characteristics, such as repeat offenses, then concentrating resources upon them and isolating their criminal effect through incarceeration is a very, very reasonable thing to do.

Baltimore doesn't.

Baltimore preaches social worker litanies as it escorts offenders into and out of its revolving doors. For that reason, many police officers are understandably fed up with babysitting the same offenders WHO KEEP COMING RIGHT BACK with virtually no interruption in their criminal enterprise.

In order to contain the number of actual incidents, the faster the revolving door, the more cops you would need. Since Baltimore has a very few patrol officers per offender, they get away with murder. Literally.

In my neighborhood, fully one of three nonelderly adult males is on supervised parole/probation. The police post has about 1.5 patrol cops on any given shift. He/she is then responsible for babysitting 550-650 active cases plus all the other neighborhood hoodlums/hoodlets.

Cannot be done. If one officer can watch five guys, and fifteen guys are out looking to break into a house, then ten guys are probabilistically unsupervised. Those ten burglaries are NOT beyond our ability to predict. Ten is the expectation of the crime here, even if we do not know quite which of the fifteen guys will do it to which of the exposed houses.

Our EXPECTED crime here is off the charts. It is NOT a mystery. It can be reduced. The task of doing so is NOT rocket science. The expectation of crime here is high because we do not provide policing proportionate to our astronomical criminality.

In an ordinary population, there is a rule of thumb, the law of seven and seventy. Seven percent of the population commit 70% of the crime. The reason this distribution is not more disperse is that the other 93% are afraid of the consequences to them of being apprehended.

When you undersupply police, that arrest likelihood goes down, so more than seven percent opt to be habituals. Conseqquently, the total 'supply' of criminal activity goes through the cieling.

This process iterates until policing is supplied to couteract the effect. It's called a feedback loop.

Baltimore imposes an artificial capp on policing, which is related to budgets, campaign contributions, and political support for criminality. To understand this last point, if only 1/2 of 1 per cent of the population commits crimes, then maybe only 2% of the population is connected with, and sympathetic to, the offenders as a class.

If, however, ten percent of the population are active criminals, then their girlfriends, sisters, buddies, mothers, and favorite barmaid all stand to lose if he's incarcerated. That could be forty percent of the population which doesn't want THEIR criminal affiliates locked up. Now, mind you, they do want someone else's criminal buddies locked up, but we cannot do that.

So, the result is that the political leaders perceive a 'let 'em loose' constituency to be a winning coalition. Hence, we have a structurally inadequate police force which is constantly shuttling a limited number of officers back and forth between protecting A's house from B's criminal buddies and protecting B's house from A's criminal buddies. The expected crime is nonzero and, in fact, very very high. And still more people enter the criminal lifestyle, all the while complaining when their mother's house is burgled.

You've suggested that we have no idea which factors limit crime. Bullcrap.

Each officer hired reduces part I crime by 24, distributed over the various categories, using nonlocal urban data. (see Marvell & Moody) My recollection is that the effect on murder was smaller than on robbery, agg assault, and property crime.

As for the ineptitude in this town, yes, it absolutely encourages crime. This comes from the horse's mouth. Offenders in lockup have told me that they won't get caught in certain jurisdictions, because "they don't take no sh*t there." We are a well-known easy-on-crime place and hoodlums absolutely gravitate to Baltimore from out of town and out of state. As for releasees, they keep coming back to Charm City, usually to the same neighborhoods. (see recent work on Reentry upon Release in Baltimore City)

Now, when officers refuse to report offenses on their post (because it will reflect on them at roll-call review), and then resources are deployed according to the crime reported by those officers, so that crime is statistically unanswered in high-crime areas, and then residents correctly infer that they will NOT be protected and therefore will not even report crime to the officers, how can you contend that this misfeasance doesn't enhance crime?

Cutting crime by 8% is not only doable, it's straightforward. What it's not, is cheap. What it's not, is orthogonal to civil liberties regimes. If you skip all the local yokels and fetch an ol' country boy Sheriff or a hardass big city District Commander, he'll show you.

I live and work in one of the Baddest neighborhoods of this #^&*%ing city, and the first 20% or so reduction comes quickly. I've seen it during our seasonal deployments of patrol officers. Now, some of that effect is diversion of crime to another unprotected area, but a good deal of it comes from pure deterrence plus enhanced incapacitation through (usually short-term)incarceration.

It works. It's doable. There is no excuse for this level of crime.

Sam's Lil Sis said...

I wonder... do people think having a criminal record makes you worthy of murder? Does it mean that its ok for your life to be atken? Not all criminals use drugs, and not all criminals stay criminals, but that's not my point. My point is my brother was murdered and he HAD a criminal record, but not for drugs. I guess maybe that just goes to show how criminalistic Baltimore as a whole is. I dunno just disturbed me a bit.

Galt said...

LIZ,

The correct implication is not that killing a person with a record is ok. The implication is that if two people are both engaged in a common criminal transaction, they will both be doing their best to avoid detection and witnesses. Hence, the guys who shot each other in some abandoned building and then resisted cooperating with 5-0. In that situation, policing is uphill vis a vis both offender and victim. It's a losing proposition to invest a lot of resources in this case. That's the reason such crimes are somewhat dismissed.

InsiderOut said...

so when are you going to run for Mayor, Galt?

John Galt said...

Actually, a better job for someone like me would be what is called in some cities a City Manager, essentially more a technician than a baby-kisser. We should adopt a City Manager form of government, which is far more answerable to the City Council than our Mayor.

InsiderOut said...

you know, there's a lot of talk in my neighborhood about the latest property assessments and Baltimore City's property taxes being the highest in the nation. I wonder if the change in the dynamic with all the new property owners in the city will change the politics in the city....if politicians will cater more to homeowners rather than relatives of criminals.

Moltisanti said...

im from the area where tom reimann lived b4 he moved to maryland...from wut i know his parents r complete assholes and controlled his every move, then they forced him to move to maryland and he lost it