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by Peter Moskos

March 30, 2016

This city ain't ready for reform!

No, it doesn't.

Wait a second... if you think Baltimore has 73,000 arrests, watch this magic:


I just reduced arrests by 63 percent!

There were fewer than 28,000 arrests in 2015. That's a pretty big difference.

Can't we expect better facts from a City's Health Commissioner. She's a medical doctor, for crying out loud. How about factual facts?

Reasonable people can and should differ on opinions, but I still have this naïve belief that if people stop believing lies, we'd have a lot more common ground.

Baltimore arrests peaked in 2003 (with 114,000). From 2003 to 2011, homicides steadily declined in Baltimore and so did arrests. Great. 2009 was the last time Baltimore saw more than 70,000 arrests. 2009 was also the only year (since God knows when) that Baltimore has seen fewer than 200 homicides.

This matters because blaming arrests is the false political narrative put out by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration in order to deflecting blame for last year's riots. The 2015 "uprising," say those on the left, happened because people are angry about racial injustice and police abuses. (Like being "angry" excuses rioting or makes it inevitable.)

That's right, say "progressive reformers," criminals like Donta Betts helped burn the city because he was angry about er, mass-arrest policies that he isn't even old enough to remember?

Any time ideology trumps common-sense problem-solving, you're in for trouble. And reformers love circular logic. Reforms can't not work, because reform is needed. And reformers never accept responsibility for the unintended (and sometimes intended) consequences of their actions. And when reforms don't work? Then we need more reform. I prefer the old adage: when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.

And yet the city administration -- I don't know if they're purposeful lying or shamefully ignorant ideologues (though either would be troubling) -- harps back to a false past to deflect blame for the messed-up and deteriorating present.

Things were actually getting better in Baltimore. And then a minor corruption scandal (Dixon) led to the current unqualified reform (SRB) mayor who brought in a certain reformer of police (Batts, whose only proven success seems to have been at career hopping) who done messed everything up! Murder increased from pretty much the moment Batts "reformed" the police department. Things got worse. Well it can never be the fault of reform. So it must O'Malley's fault from 10 years ago.

Here's my litmus test: If you talk about the crime and police without ever once saying the word "criminals," you're a reforming fool.


Andy D said...

What is frustrating to me is that so many of these "reformers" don't really want to "reform" anything but the police. I'm all for drug decriminalization (actually I'd prefer legalization) but violent criminals need to be treated as violent criminals. I know that prison isn't exactly the best solution for most criminals but violent killers are one group that needs incarceration. (I don't think flogging works for murder, and Peter I think you agree.) Sending people to prison for long periods of time for selling something that people voluntarily put in their bodies seems wrong, but then letting people who carry guns and use them to maim or kill others out of jail after a few months or a year (even when they have repeatedly shot or killed) is insane.

Kyle said...

Dr. Wen was born in the year of Dog...(female dog!?) she's 33 and married a South African(light skin dude). Even though love conquers all but no wonder she messed up statistics and politics.

Viva Mandela~

aNanyMouse said...

Andy, of course springing killers is brutally stupid, and Peter's ideas on drugs laws and prison are well taken.
And, of course, when you talk about crime and police, you must talk about criminals.

So, you may want to refer to my exchanges with Peter and William Young, in the thread on Peter's page about "A Cloak of Silence After a South Bronx Killing", about foster care and supervised housing for kids born to incapable parents.

Jason Taverner said...

It's a bit ironic that former Chicago police chief Garry McCarthy was also considered a "reformer", and that he was hired after his great "successes" as police chief in Newark, NJ, which just entered into a consent decree with the Feds. The Marhsall Project had an interesting article on the "reformers" cult last fall: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/10/16/america-s-rock-star-cops#.L9m2bH0Yq

Moskos said...

One-by-one the reformers fail. And nobody ever blames "reform." Or even the reformers.

The great thing about being a reformer is that if you say the word "reform" enough, you automatically qualify as a success! It's more important to "get it" (politically & ideologically) than to "get it done" (practically & measurably).