Sunday, September 30, 2007

September 30

What the?! The conviction of Melissa Burch Harton has been overturned by the Court of Appeals! You'll recall Harton and her friend Natasha Bacchus Magee went out drinking Tickle Me Elmos, a fight ensued, and Harton strangled her former friend and fellow Loyola grad student to death.

"But officer, I drive a Volvo station wagon and have two young homeys enrolled in youth soccer leagues!" NYT reporter Solomon Moore on the hazards of reporting while black. (There's one problem no Sun or Examiner crime reporter would have!)

In Philadelphia, the Police Commissioner has called for 10,000 volunteers to patrol city blocks.


John Galt said...

Shooting at Springdale & Oakfield in Forest Park.


In Detroit (homicide rate of 4.72) homicide is down 5% and shootings are down 20%. In Baltimore (homicide rate of 4.33), by contrast, shootings are up sharply and homicide is up 13%.

Do the math. Absent some radical change over two months, we’re going to be # 1 in murder rate this year.

ppatin said...

The county's murder rate is also going up. If wonder if that's city hoodlums spilling over into there, or if most of their killers are homegrown?

burgersub said...

of the 27 people i know of that have been arrested in connection with 2007 murders in baltimore county, only 9 had city addresses. also, when a county with 7 or 8 hundred thousand people has a murder total that changes from 35 to 40 or whatever, i wouldn't exactly call that a statistically significant increase. i mean, i haven't done the math or anything but it doesn't really look like an alarming trend, you know?

John Galt said...

The interesting feature, however, is that county violence is not nearly uniform over geography: it's pretty clearly correlated with proximity to the City. I-695 is a very good delimiter for the violence zone. If you research the 2/3 with non-city addresses, I suspect you would find that they are not so long out of Baltimore City and have continuing connection there.

It's about the outward sprawl of the underclass. The underclass, as defined by sociologists Ricketts & Sawhill, (see their work to understand the theory of disaffected antisocialization) are indicated by four (data) criteria:

the percentages of:

a) men not attached to the labor force;

b) teenagers who are high
school drop outs;

c) families with children headed by women; and

d) households
dependent on public assistance.

The data on comparative U.S. cites is striking:

Table 7
Underclass Census Tracts in 20 Largest Metropolitan Areas,
1990 and 2000

Name 1990 2000 Change %Change
New York, NY 125 60 -65 -52%
Detroit, MI 99 38 -61 -62%
Chicago, IL 87 57 -30 -34%
Philadelphia, PA/NJ 51 28 -23 -45%
Los Angeles, CA 40 9 -31 -78%
Baltimore, MD 37 29 -8 -22%
St. Louis, MO/IL 20 23 3 15%
Houston, TX 16 7 -9 -56%
Wash., DC/MD/VA/WV 12 7 -5 -42%
Atlanta, GA 12 10 -2 -17%
Dallas, TX 10 5 -5 -50%
Minneapolis, MN/WI 10 3 -7 -70%
Boston, MA/NH 9 4 -5 -56%
Tampa, FL 9 6 -3 -33%
Phoenix, AZ 8 13 5 63%
Riverside, CA 5 7 2 40%
San Diego, CA 2 0 -2 -100%
Seattle, WA 1 2 1 100%
Orange County, CA 0 0 0 0%
Nassau, NY 0 0 0 0%
Note: MSA = Metropolitan Statistical Area; PMSA = Primary Metropolitan
Statistical Area. Sorted in order of 2000 total population within MSA/PMSAs

Over that period, underclass-ness has become increasingly de-linked from income per se in the more successful cities.

That is, behavior and values speak more to underclass-ness than money. Successful cities have tended to retain 'good' people who happen to be poor, while Baltimore and St. Louis have been losing them to suburbs and becoming a haven for the creme de la crap, somewhat independent of income.

Hence, the local emphasis on providing more $$$ is a failure before it begins. It's all about personal responsibility. But don't tell Sheila.

John Galt said...

Whatta great idea.

In a city where the municipal government doesn't do its job of policing, guys are to go on patrol with no gun, no arrest authority, and almost no backup in the most violent of the ten most-populous cities.

Sounds attractive.

ppatin said...


You're right, that an extra five to ten murders isn't that significant, but it seemed like the county murder rate went up by just about the same percentage as the city's. Probably not that big a deal, just something I was pondering.

John Galt said...

Now, if you normalize each count of underclass tracts to MSA population (as a proxy for total tracts per MSA), you get a measure of underclass-ness for these MSA's as follows:

10.74 Balto
8.44 Detroit
8.21 St Louis
5.70 Chicago
4.83 Philly
3.33 New York
3.25 Phoenix
2.22 Tampa
1.96 Atlanta
1.75 Riverside
1.32 DC
1.27 Houston
0.94 Minneapolis
0.89 Boston
0.83 Dallas
0.69 LA
0.61 Seattle
0.00 San Diego

I'm conjecturing that the anomalous rankings of New York (too high) and DC (too low) may be attributable to PMSA counts.

ppatin said...

If it's late at night, I'm on the road and the driver of the car in front of me is obviously drunk should I call 311 or 911?

Gor said...

galt, what is homicide rate based on?

If they're based on murders per million than our current rate is 4.9. Btw, the FBI rates crime per 100K and as do my numbers.

If anyone is interested. I track the number of murders for MD counties/Baltimore and DC (thanks burgersub) against student spending, teacher salaries, number of public libraies, population densities, and poverty rates. You would be surprised what misconception about crime is out there (like douche) when compared against the facts.

ppatin, call *77.

The Cybrarian said...

Gor, he's counting underclass population, not homicides!
But yes, where is Table #7 from?
Interesting stuff. I'm really torn on welfare. On one hand how could you let mothers and babies starve in the street?

But on the other, after reading "Random Family," I realized welfare checks have financed women (or teenagers) to have one kid after another, never having worked a paid on-the-books job in their lives, like they were British or something.

I know we had some "welfare reform"-- I wonder what the law is now? Will look into it (after I do some paid work).

And what's *77?
I'd call 911.

Gor said...

*77 will direct you to the nearest state police dispatcher to the receiving cell phone tower. If you dail 911 it could direct your call to the closest emergency dispatcher where the phone is listed (not it's actual location).

ppatin said...

Not true. I once had to call 911 from my cell phone in New Jersey, and I was connected to a NJ 911 dispatcher. Calling the state police inside the city would also be pointless, I wasn't on a freeway when I saw this guy.

Gor said...

Maybe they (the phone companies) updated the system, but a few years ago what I said is what happen to me when I call 911 from a cell phone. I do know for a fact that the *77 still works, because I recently had to used it for a drunk driver I was following in southern Maryland.

burgersub said...

when my girlfriend's windshield got shattered by a projectile hurled from a passing car in deale (southern AA county) i called 911 (my phone is registered in baltimore) and got AA county emergency dispatch.

gor, don't follow my numbers too closely, i'm only as accurate as the newspapers allow me to be. for instance, DC currently has 143, but i have only been able to find information in the media on 137 of them.