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by Peter Moskos

March 10, 2012

What Kind of Country?

A very good episode of This American Life. Specifically about Trenton, paying too much tax, paying too little tax, budget cuts, and policing. Notice (what is still denied by many academics) the basic link between cutting police, ineffective policing, and rising crime. Or course it could always be just coincidence. Except it isn't.

[thanks to Admiral de Ruiterweg]


Jay Livingston said...

I’m late getting around to this, but I wondered what your take was on Grover Norquist’s assessment. (He appeared later on the show.) He blames the link between crime and police cutbacks on the unions. The cops that get laid off are those with least seniority. If cities could choose which cops to lay off, there’d be less damage from the layoffs.

Norquist’s idea rests on a couple of assumptions. First, that there’s a big difference in effectiveess among cops. Second, that cops with more seniority are much more effective than those with less seniority. Is there any evidence to support either of these ideas?

PCM said...

There probably is a worst 10% most cops could agree on, since you see each other work. But I wouldn't trust the brass to know. How would the city identify the bottom 10%?

As to effectiveness, cops get less "active" as they age. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Most of the really stupid shit cops to is done by younger cops. Experience plays a role. So does age. And some cops may not be good overall, but have niches that they're very good at. You do generally work in a squad so it's good to have people with different talents and interests.