‘Sea Change’ Seen As Police Shift Focus From Drugs To Guns


The Christian Science Monitor reports on a significant change in the focus of American law enforcement. After years of fighting the “war on drugs” – the obsessive pursuit of everyone involved in drug crime, big to small – urban police chiefs are shifting their focus toward gun offenders. This law enforcement philosophy is born of the growing acknowledgment that millions of dollars and arrests have done little to slow urban America’s drug trade, and that a fresh strategy is needed to further reduce violence in the country’s toughest cities.

From new gunshot-detection cameras in New Haven, Conn., to a gun-offender registry in Baltimore; from a Sacramento, Calif., law requiring gun dealers to notify police about people who buy bullets to a proposal approved by the Los Angeles City Council that would let landlords evict tenants convicted of gun crimes, city police departments and governments are putting new emphasis on fighting illegal guns. The shifts are local, differ from city to city, and are largely beneath the radar of the national gun control debate. Yet taken together, it is a sea change in how cities are attempting to tackle what has often been viewed as hopeless, ingrained urban violence, say criminal justice analysts.

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