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by Peter Moskos

August 28, 2015

"Safe Steets" office raided in Baltimore

In case you're wondering how police could possibly be opposed to a "violence prevention program" like a city-funded program that "hires ex-felons to mediate disputes," consider this from the Baltimore Sun: "One of the guns found in a raid on the Safe Streets violence prevention program's East Baltimore office has been connected to at least two shootings."

Also found were a "semiautomatic handgun with a 26-round extended magazine found in a 'drop-style ceiling' in the office. Two loaded guns and four extended magazines were found in a cabinet. A plastic bag containing .40-caliber cartridges was found in a plant pot. Police also said they found 450 suspected heroin capsules as well as materials such as cutting agents and sifters used to prepare heroin for distribution."

Basically this was a tax-payer funded criminal enterprise. And yet, somehow, "City officials remain supportive of Safe Streets, which has been credited with stemming violence in the neighborhoods where it is active."

I don't know what neighborhoods they're talking about. This is a city where the homicide rate doubled in April.

I wonder how close the vetting for the Safe Streets participants gets to the mayor. This sure would be an interesting case of "follow the money."

[More on the program and the arrests, from NPR. (Thanks to PG)]


campbell said...

From the NPR article:"It's based on the Cure Violence model out of Chicago." Uh, have these people seen Chicago's stats on shootings? They think this is a good idea, why?

Jay said...

Is there a contradiction between a group's having a lot of guns and its goal of reducing violence? The police, for example.
Quite possibly what they wanted were Safe Streets where they could carry on their business.

Peter Moskos said...

Conceivably. But then they weren't doing a very good job! There were 29 homicides in the Eastern last year. There have been 25 year to date in 2015.

Jeffrey Imm said...

In other news, public flogging by the Taliban was done giving 100 lashes to a man and woman http://www.thenewsteller.com/world/afghan-man-woman-received-100-lashes-over-adultery/23064/

No doubt this is the type of public flogging that Peter Moskos wants for the American people.

Adam said...

“It's not giving away too much to say that Moskos doesn't really want to bring back flogging.”
-Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune.

Jeffrey, you know what the difference is between you and Clarence Page? A few things: (1) Page actually read Moskos's book; (2) Page isn't a goddamn internet troll; and (3) Page, unlike you, knows how to read between the lines.

I don't like leveling personal attacks on the internet, but really, how dumb are you??

Anonymous said...

How can you even defend the sows and animals on msnbc? You're educated but yet propaganderize the animal movement. I've pursued your bibliographic achievements but yet am flabbergasted with your liberal approach to the fight with that well articulated heeb... Yes I'm not a fan of your words or stance on the issues plaguing this country. Grow a pair and man up and speak the truth.

sgt storm said...

Great Blog. One of the few consistent police blogs. I'm over here. http://copsbehindthebadge.com or http://copsbehindthebadge.podbean.com

john mosby said...

Prof, 2 off-topic comments:

1. Saw you on Chris Hayes the other day. Man, these guys are so afraid of any contrary opinion that they'll shout down the most balanced, fair-minded pro-cop academic they can find. Too bad you couldnt get on Morning Joe, where at least they would let you finish a sentence.

2. Borrowing a page out of your dad's book: he noted the relationship between a country's military policy and how many of its elites' children were actually in the military. To what extent do you think some of our LE-policy problems are due to elites having very little 'skin in the game' of policing? Would things be different if PD's had more kids of mayors, aldermen, governors, CEOs, etc serving on the street?


Peter Moskos said...

I've been on Morning Joe. It's too early for me, in general.
I like being on Chris Hayes. I don't agree with him much of the time on policing matters. But he wants to learn more. I respect that. And he's had me on a dozen times, so he's interested in what I have to say. He doesn't have me on to prove *his* point. I find that intellectual honest. And the segments are long, at least for TV. So it almost resembles an actually conversation.
Did you see me on O'Reilly?

Peter Moskos said...

Also, Chris Hayes loves and promotes my book, Cop in the Hood. So of course I like that!

Peter Moskos said...

As to your second point, I think it's a different issue for the military. My father hated chickenhawk draft-dodging war-mongering politicians. They're the worst. People who literally score political points with the lives of soldiers? It's disgraceful. And I do think those who haven't served are much more likely to start wars.

But with policing, I think lack of service means there's a lack of understanding. But they're not literally sending young cops off to die.

Still, interesting point.

Adam said...

Re: Fox News:

First of all, great job during the interview. I'll say that I think it's dumb to blame BLM for these assassinations of police officers (which are few and far between), but -- as you've pointed out -- a lot of the rhetoric from BLM is overblown, and their presentation of the data sometimes borders on sophistry. From what I've seen, DeRay McKesson et al. will label just about every single questionable police shooting a "murder."; McKesson was even quick to announce that Sandra Bland was murdered. For Sam Singyangwe -- the self-proclaimed "data scientist" for the movement -- it doesn't seem to register that just because police kill blacks at a rate that is disproportionate to their share of the population, that doesn't prove much of anything (as, again, you've shown). I've seen him write that police killings of blacks are "on the rise" because a given month's tally is larger than the previous month's (which is akin to disproving global warming by saying July 2015 was cooler than July 2014). Their policy proposals over at joincampaignzero.com make clear that they think most every police killing is unjustified, as evidenced by their demand that all cops who shoot someone in the line of duty be suspended *without pay* pending an investigation.

The point is, when that shit gets into the heads of people who are mentally ill or severely emotionally unstable, they think we're in the middle of a race war, and that the police are committing genocide. Does that mean some members of BLM are responsible when those people go nuts and kill a cop? Well, not really, but maybe just a little bit. Think of this way: when conservative pundits go overboard with their "oppressive government," "we need a second revolution," "they're coming to take our guns" rhetoric, do you think that prompts radical conservative people to be, well, a little more radical? Are those pundits to blame when the Sovereign Citizens kill a cop? Not really. But maybe just a little.

Peter Moskos said...

I couldn't agree more.
Of course there's a risk of living in a free society with free speech and a right to bear arms. Can speech insight? Sure. Does that mean we don't allow free speech? No. There's absurdity on all sides. Some of it might cause somebody to do something bad. But honestly, it's not like cop-hating is anything new.
And I think much of the cop-hating rhetoric is actually being promoted, inadvertently, by conservative right-wingers. I'm learning a lot more about a few crazy people who hate cops ("King Noble"?!) only because the right is going crazy talking about this one fucking idiot. He was a nobody till he because the strawman. It's insane.

Peter Moskos said...

And thanks, Adam.

Peter Moskos said...

About Campaign Zero...

If one leaves out the somewhat false narrative upon which it is built (the "cops gunning for blacks" thing), what is it about this campaign zero that is so objectionable?

I have one answer: "Ending Broken Windows."

But for the sake of debate, let's leave that one out of it (even though it is number one).

And independent investigations? Well, up to a point I'm OK with that.

But the other ideas don't seems so bad. Honestly, for a department like NYPD or Baltimore, most are already in place!

I *don't* want police used as a revenue stream. I'm *not* for the over-militarization of cops.

Body cameras are coming.

I'm looking at what they're saying, and mostly they're taking best practices from various departments. Aren't these mostly good suggestions? Aren't these things we demand of our police departments? Maybe some police departments do need to get with the times.

I haven't gone over every detail. Not even close. But nothing jumps out at me as crazy. Am I missing something?

Adam said...

No, you're not. I really just meant that that one policy proposal (suspending cops w/o pay when they shoot somebody) is reflective of their oft-repeated suggestion that virtually all police shootings are unjustified.

Most of the policy proposals are good. I was pleasantly surprised when I first read them.

Unfortunately, under the heading "The Problem," I think there's more evidence of how they play fast and loose with the data.

“Nearly sixty percent of victims did not have a gun or were involved in activities that should not require police intervention such as harmless ‘quality of life’ behaviors or mental health crises.”

Does this imply that people without guns can’t pose a threat of death or serious bodily injury? And if so, does that include people wielding knives or bats? And what are we to make of the “quality of life” category? Does that imply that the officers shot and killed people because they were, e.g., drinking in public? Or does it just mean the incident *started* with a quality-of-life investigation? What if some dude was stopped for drinking in public and then he pulled out a gun and shot at the officer? Is the officer allowed to shoot back?

I'm trying hard to not let my frustrations with some of the BLM rhetoric cloud my judgment about the very real problem of cops killing too many people, and about how we can fix that problem. These folks pieced together some solid policy proposals, so kudos to them.

john mosby said...

Prof, good point about cops not being sent to their deaths. Certainly not in numbers anywhere near even the tiniest wars. But they are being sent into high risk to their freedom, livelihoods, and purses. Your ccrb post above shows a pretty high 'casualty' rate in this regard. And the professions that do have elite kids don't have nearly the same amount of hostile oversight. Doctors, for instance. Yes, the threat of malpractice suits does drive our entire healthcare policy, but the docs get to pass the cost onto the rest of us, thru insurance. And a doc really has to do deliberate crimes to get put in prison, or even lose her license. Then of course there are lawyers. Since the entire regulatory system for lawyers is run by lawyers, there is a lot of mercy available for them, in spite of nearly universal public disdain.

I'm just thinking that if policing were the type of work that senators and presidents relatives went into more often, we might hear "if I had a son, he'd look like PO Soandso".....


Peter Moskos said...

Yeah. But isn't that just the plight of the working class in general?

What's interesting about soldiers and senators, is that because so few elected officials are veterans, there's an overreach in the other directions. There's an attempt to lionize armed forces all the time. Chickenhawk senators love talking about "hero" soldiers to cover for their own moral weaknesses.