The release of the FBI’s semi-annual report on crime has provided Atlanta’s pathologically tone-deaf Mayor and the Chief-of-Police-In-Absentia with another opportunity to shower contempt on every citizen of the city. What else could inspire the Mayor to repeat the words, “the city is ‘safer now than it has been in decades’,” given her knowledge of public feelings on her attitude?
Apparently, according to City Hall, a slight drop in the still unacceptable high rates of some crime in some areas, a rise in crime rates in other areas, and a sharp rise in property crime rates is cause to break out the bubbly.
How much of this drop in crime in some areas of the city can be attributed to heroic, time-consuming, and expensive efforts by neighborhood groups and individuals? How much higher (than the 7.6% increase) would the property crime rate climb if people weren’t bankrupting themselves paying for alarm systems, burglar bars, security cameras, guns, and off-duty cops to patrol their neighborhoods?
Should the burden of preventing crime fall so heavily on residents who already pay the city to protect them?
Chief Pennington, bizarrely, has refused to comment on the FBI report. Does the guy even show up for work anymore? Why has the City Council caved to demands by the usual activists to re-re-re-investigate city cops in shooting incidents (after the appropriate authorities, and the FBI, the courts, and everybody else already investigated/prosecuted/sentenced the officers involved), but they seem utterly incurious about Pennington’s performance, not to mention grotesquely timid on the subject of denying injured cops their medical benefits?
Can we get one public statement from the Chief in exchange for the latest kangaroo court for cops who put their lives on the line?
Chief of Police is a political gig. Some chiefs manage to rise above the politics — in places other than Atlanta. The national organization representing police executives is a political organization, too, which explains why the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum comes down on the side of pooh-pooing that Real Clear Politics report ranking Atlanta as the second-most dangerous large city nationwide, by population:
The ranking, compiled by the Web site Real Clear Politics, was derived by dividing the total crimes detailed in the FBI’s report by city population. Atlanta’s per-capita crime rate measured at 16 percent.
“Determining whether a city is safe or not is not as easy as that,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which has representatives from law enforcement agencies nationwide.
“That’s a very simplistic approach.”
All due respect to Wexler, what would be a “less simplistic” way of determining the prevalence of crime? Criminologists, of course, have many answers to this question. Unfortunately, their answers involve using very complicated number-crunching, statistic-discombobulating, and hide-the-peanut tomfoolery to achieve one overweening goal:
to deny the problem of crime
What is harder to deny is this:
- 1.4 million violent crimes,
- 10 million property crimes,
- 17,000 murders
- and nearly 100,000 rapes is a tidal wave of suffering, violence, fear and wasted lives.
The irascible Randall Cobb, one of those community activists who probably clocks ungodly volunteer hours trying to do the job the Mayor and Chief are paid to do, had this to say:
“Franklin and [Atlanta Chief of Police Richard] Pennington have been trying to get us to drink the Kool-Aid for 12 months now,” said Randall Cobb, safety chairman for the Midtown Neighborhood Association. “The biggest thing they’re doing is refusing to take responsibility for crime in this city.”
Tomorrow: two crimes I did not report…