Feds Should Boost Crime-Fighting Aid In Time Of Recession: Expert


When Los Angeles crime statistics showed that homicides were up early this year, Police Chief William Bratton said, “I take responsibility when it goes down, I take responsibility when it goes up.” Criminologist Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri-St. Louis says that attitude is “based on a myth.” Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Rosenfeld says police “have no more control over the economic and social forces that drive crime than doctors and nurses have over fluctuations in disease. No one holds the local hospital director responsible when rates of heart disease or diabetes increase. We understand that these conditions are influenced by lifestyle, nutrition, environment — factors that transcend local boundaries. Crime is no different.”

A worsening economy is likely to make the crime problem worse, too, Rosenfeld argues. Worried consumers do not necessarily resort to street crime, but but some will resort to buying stolen goods. As that demand increases, so does the incentive for the street criminals who supply underground markets. Los ‘Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is committed to expanding the police budget even if other city services are cut. Strengthening the police makes sense when crime rates are likely to increase as the economy sours — but cutting other crucial services does not, Rosenfeld says. His conclusion: “Bratton may be willing to take the blame, but the federal government should assume more of the financial burden of fighting crime during the coming national recession.”

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-rosenfeld20mar20,0,56503.story

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