Meanwhile, In the Groves of Academe and the Forests of Newsprint

There’s no such thing as a crime problem. It’s just a perception problem, you silly hysterics. From the Houston Chronicle, which wants you to know that daring to be worried about crime is the only crime problem that matters:

In the words of a statistician, the decrease in criminality appears to have an inverse relationship, at least for now, with political rhetoric on crime, which has ramped up in recent months.

Is it possible that continually heaping contempt upon the concerns of newspaper readers has a non-inverse relationship to the decline of newspaper subscribers?

“It’s probably very difficult for any politician to acknowledge that the problem of crime is decreasing, because that undermines the importance of the issue,” said Dennis Longmire, a professor of criminal justice at Sam Houston State University who has studied public attitudes toward crime. “Politicians use a fear of crime to garner support and get voters’ attention.”

Or perhaps the public is concerned about crime because they do not want to see the fragile progress of recent months dissipate. Or perhaps crime rates are still astonishingly high despite a modest drop in incidents. Or perhaps people are successfully preventing certain incidents of crime, but only because they are remaining alert and focused on the issue, even though reporters and academicians find this more troubling than crime itself.

This type of canned denouncement echoes recent statements by Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Chief of Police Richard Pennington, both of whom responded to truly horrifying incidents of crime by scolding the public for caring.

Public concern is not going to go away, not in Houston, not in Atlanta, not anywhere. As daily newspapers tank and the public begins to question “studies” put forth by academics who don’t even pretend to objectivity, the internet is stepping in. You can expect more accusations of “vigilantism” and “hysteria about crime” from the usual suspects. And you can ignore them, too.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *