Ken’s Comments:

 

When I read the headline, I thought this would be about “community policing”, but it is even better than that! This stuff DOES reduce crime … so why not do more of it?!

Send a Letter like this out where YOU live!

 

I sent this out on 11/20 and have not seen in published. I deem it sufficiently important to “try, try again” so I added the first paragraph and Dick’s  name.

Letter to the Editor or Op Ed Submission – Shift Gears Regularly to Protect Us! 12/1/17

The primary purpose of government is to protect its citizens. Our government has been failing here dramatically and fatally in several areas for decades. Just look at the absurd, misguided and failed “war on drugs” and our kids “dropping like flies” due to heroin. Look also at policing, and the ever increasing numbers of shootings. Both major flaws are caused by the war on drugs: all of the highly touted “sweeps” and “round ups” take some people off the streets for a short while, but the dealers are replaced, literally overnight, by others in the lucrative business of selling illegal drugs. Meanwhile, the percentage of murders and rapes solved has declined nationwide over the past 40 years from over 95% to under 50%, because police resources are so misguided. But the problem is much bigger and more complex. In this fast changing world, we need fast changing solutions. Articles addressing all of this – including sensible solutions – are on our website: www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net

I receive hundreds of articles a month on all manner of criminal justice issues. A recent one caught my eye and prompted this Letter. When I read the headline, I thought this would be about “community policing”, but it is much better than that! This stuff DOES reduce crime … so why not do more of it?!

The article discusses several methods to reduce crime: PROBLEM ORIENTED POLICING – to count as problem-oriented policing, a program had to identify an issue in a community, sometimes with input from community members, and develop strategies to solve it. The issue might be specific, like juvenile crime in one park, or it might be broader, like “physical disorder. HOT SPOTS POLICING “focusing on crime “hot spots”, usually a short term. STOP-AND-FRISK AND TRAFFIC STOPS, in specific areas, but not for petty reasons or no reason … the source of so much backlash against police in decades gone by. COMMUNITY POLICING – —community engagement alone didn’t reduce crime. But big reviews of community policing did find it improved community members’ satisfaction with police. Whether it improved people’s perceived disorder in their neighborhoods, fear of crime, and belief in the police’s legitimacy was less clear.

No one strategy is good for one city or county all the time. The key here is flexibility to use each of these where and when needed, and that is what I suggest every police department should do. Keep all of these options or tactics in mind year-round. Review monthly what works best where. We have seen that “tough on crime” does not work. This brings “smart on crime” to life; evidenced based strategies like these – knowing what really works – are exactly what we need!

Here is the article: https://psmag.com/social-justice/what-strategies-work-best-in-policing

Just as race cars work best when shifting gears, every police department in America should “shift gears regularly” when necessary, with these strategies in mind!

Ken Abraham, former Deputy Attorney General, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, co-founder of Team Posner Law Group, Dover, DE 302-423-4067 and Judge Richard Posner, retired federal judge, law school professor, author, and co-founder of Team Posner Law Group, Chicago, Ill, 773-955-1351

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Letter to the Editor – Shift Gears! 11/20/17

I receive hundreds of articles a month on all manner of criminal justice issues. A recent one caught my eye. When I read the headline, I thought this would be about “community policing”, but it is much better than that! This stuff DOES reduce crime … so why not do more of it?!

The article discusses several methods to reduce crime:PROBLEM ORIENTED POLICING – to count as problem-oriented policing, a program had to identify an issue in a community, sometimes with input from community members, and develop strategies to solve it. The issue might be specific, like juvenile crime in one park, or it might be broader, like “physical disorder. HOT SPOTS POLICING”focusing on crime “hot spots”, usually a short term.  STOP-AND-FRISK AND TRAFFIC STOPS, in specific areas, but not for petty reasons or no reason … the source of so much backlash against police in decades gone by. COMMUNITY POLICING – —community engagement alone didn’t reduce crime. But big reviews of community policing did find it improved community members’ satisfaction with police. Whether it improved people’s perceived disorder in their neighborhoods, fear of crime, and belief in the police’s legitimacy was less clear.

No one strategy is good for one city or county all the time. The key here is flexibility to use each of these where and when needed, and that is what I suggest every police department should do. Review monthly what works best where. We have seen that “tough on crime” does not work. This brings “smart on crime” to life; evidenced based strategies like these – knowing what really works – are exactly what we need!

Here is the article: https://psmag.com/social-justice/what-strategies-work-best-in-policing

Just as race cars work best when shifting gears, every police chief in America should “shift gears” when necessary, with these strategies in mind!

Ken Abraham, former Deputy Attorney General, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, Dover, DE 302-423-4067

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I get lots of letters published, and ghost write for others. The keys to getting your Letter published are:
1. Keep it to 250 words or fewer.
2. Do not make it about “poor little old me”. Describe the problem as one which not only affects the individual, but is a senseless or ineffective measure, policy, or law which also harms communities and society. For example, with reentry, the obstacles make it unnecessarily difficult for the individual, but also harm society by making it hard to become productive, spending money and paying taxes in the community, and they cause increased recidivism = increased crime.
3. Speak from your heart.
4. Google any facts you are not sure about.
5. Do not name-call.
Do what works: Write that Letter!
…………
Letter to Editor – sign name, town, state, and your phone number (they often call to verify that you sent it), and “Member of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE” if you like – shows you are part of a large group.
Send the email to yourself, and put on the “bcc” bar the email addresses for Letters to the Editor for the top ten newspapers in your state and several national ones – The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, U S A Today (google the Letter to Editor email addresses). Any questions, CALL me at 302-423-4067!
Need a Letter on some criminal justice issue and not a great letter writer? NO EXCUSE! Email me a rough draft and call me and I’ll polish it up! kenabraham3138@gmail.com .
ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME AT 302-423-4067.”””””””””

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Excerpts from the Article:

 

The controversy over police use of force in the United States can often pit the conversation in overly simplistic terms: You must choose between a police force that works to prevent crime, or one that’s respectful of, and respected by, its constituents—and less effective. But it turns out you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other, according to a new analysis.

“There are a number of proactive policing strategies that have impacts on crime and, for the most part, they don’t cause those negative outcomes in the community,” says David Weisburd, a criminologist at George Mason University and the lead author of the analysis.

Research showed strategies like problem-oriented policing and hot spots policing to be particularly effective. However, while stop-and-frisk—a method made infamous by the New York Police Department that has brought about numerous lawsuits charging that its practice infringes on people’s civil rights—was found to be effective against crime in certain circumstances, it was also found to be harmful to individuals. Weisburd and his colleagues are hoping police chiefs around the country will use the new report to help them implement evidence-based programs for whatever challenges they face at home.

“Maybe a department is doing well, crime is going down, but the community seems unhappy. Then they can use these community policing ideas to develop better relations,” Weisburd says. (Weisburd’s team found that community policing improved people’s perception of police.) “Maybe another chief is facing a situation where there’s a sudden increase in violent crime. That person can read this report and say, ‘There’s an evidence base to use hot spots.'”

Jim Bueermann, a former police chief, current president of the Police Foundation, and one of Weisburd’s co-authors, was optimistic that police departments are becoming “increasingly likely” to take reports like his and Weisburd’s to heart. “There is a movement called evidence-based policing that is gaining a great deal of traction,” he says.

Weisburg and Bueermann worked with a panel of 15 other experts, including criminologists, lawyers, statisticians, and another former police chief, although no police-reform activists were on the official panel. They analyzed existing studies of several popular, proactive policing strategies. Their results are publicly available in a report published by the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering. We’ve got some highlights below.

Problem-oriented policing was one of the most promising strategies Weisburd and his team studied. There was evidence suggesting that the approach both reduces crime in the short term and improves community relations slightly. (There is little long-term data, which was true of everything the panel examined.) To count as problem-oriented policing, a program had to identify an issue in a community, sometimes with input from community members, and develop strategies to solve it. The issue might be specific, like juvenile crime in one park, or it might be broader, like “physical disorder.”

Many studies of problem-oriented policing programs found they increased community members’ satisfaction with the police. Some also found they improved people’s perception of their quality of life, lowered their fear of crime, and bolstered their belief in the legitimacy of the police. But other studies found no effect. One study found backlash in one community.

HOT SPOTS POLICING

Hot spots policing takes advantage of research that’s shown that a large portion of a city’s crime will often occur on just a few streets. Hot spots policing programs invest in these streets more intensely—and studies show that the strategy helps reduce crime there in the short term, without pushing off crime to surrounding areas. The researchers also found that hot spots policing rarely created backlash from the community.

STOP-AND-FRISK AND TRAFFIC STOPS

Stop-and-frisk and aggressive traffic stops have become some of the most controversial police tactics in America, the former because of civil-rights lawsuits and the latter because of police killings of unarmed black men pulled over for minor infractions. Research shows that when applied to specific areas, stop-and-frisk can reduce crime. But studies also document that people perceive stop-and-frisk and traffic stops for small problems—such as an unlit license-plate light, or driving too slowly—very negatively. And no wonder: Even before the now-infamous deaths of the past few years, police in many cities had been found to disproportionately stop black Americans, and to stop innocent people a large majority of the time.

COMMUNITY POLICING

American police departments deploy so-called “community policing” in a lot of different ways, from having a police representative attend community meetings to publishing newsletters to bike patrols. The researchers found that when they separated the “community engagement” strategies from other police tactics they studied—such as problem-oriented policing, which often solicits community input—community engagement alone didn’t reduce crime. But big reviews of community policing did find it improved community members’ satisfaction with police. Whether it improved people’s perceived disorder in their neighborhoods, fear of crime, and belief in the police’s legitimacy was less clear.

It’s possible community policing does reduce crime, but researchers couldn’t tell because studies of it don’t tend to last longer than a year, Weisburd says. The theory behind community policing suggests it should take a while to work against crime because police need to build up trust among their constituents, first. But major crime-study funders, such as the Department of Justice, often give out grants that last only a year, Weisburd says.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

Indeed, there’s a lot left to learn, as Weisburd’s and his colleagues’ analysis makes clear. Best studied is whether different police tactics reduce crime rates. Less studied, but emerging, is evidence about how those tactics affect the attitudes of the people the police are supposed to serve. And scarcely studied at all are important questions that make up the second half of “What works in policing?” Although the team members looked for them, they found no studies about whether certain police strategies are more likely to violate civil rights. They also didn’t find convincing evidence about why some programs lead police officers to target racial minorities disproportionately. Is it implicit or explicit bias? Something else? What can police departments do about it?

“There’s been a long history of racial injustice in the United States, in particular in criminal justice and policing,” Weisburd says. “The police are often the agents of society that carried out rules that were unjust involving discrimination in the United States and with that in mind, this, in our view, is an extremely important area for us to look at more carefully in the future.”

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