More Police is Not the Answer

So Police Chief Ramsey has declared a “Crime Emergency” after a 95 percent increase in juveniles arrested for robberies this year.


I say that not to trivialize the real pain and trauma of the victims, or decrease the seriousness of the acts, I say it because we need to stop fooling ourselves that more police = less violent crime.

Violent crime in DC will not be reduced by more police. The problem is young men who find violent crime to be both a means of status and income. To quote Ramsey in today’s Courtland Milloy WasPost column,

“Young black males, in groups of five to six, ages 13 to 15, are displaying handguns and beating their victims.” … “We’re dealing with adolescents who have no remorse, no regrets.”

These are adolescents that Milloy perfectly describes as

“Juveniles, many of whom have been robbed themselves — ripped off by parents and schools and communities that couldn’t care less about them — have become hardened and increasingly violent.”

They see no better option than running & gunning. School? Raise your hand if you liked the boredom of school, especially if your parents didn’t graduate or push you to make money now to feed yourself and your siblings.

Minimum wage work? While Freakonomics might say it pays less than minimum wage, hanging out on the street corner selling drugs and looking cool or the power trip of armed robbery, sure beats flipping burgers or working retail. Add in the glamour associated with thug life as seen on TV, and but for the grace of god, a few of us would be out there too.

So how can we “fix” this problem?

I believe we’ll have a low crime rate again only when we have strong communities again, as this is a community problem, not a police problem. What do you think we as a city should do? Comments are open..

11 Comments so far

  1. Evil (unregistered) on July 12th, 2006 @ 12:27 pm

    I think we should take the little thugs all out to a farm for a summer and make them do some hard work and appreciate how tiny and pathetic they are and then maybe they can get some self-respect and see a different way.

    The economy is tanking in DC for the poor. Crime is only going to go up.

  2. sanji (unregistered) on July 12th, 2006 @ 2:13 pm

    It seems that since the thugs/crimminals were bused here because of Katrina – there has been a noticable increase of petty – also it’s sad that the Brit had to die the way he did but what about the African American store owner who lost his life while closing HIS store – where’s the coverage & outpour on this life ?!?!? stop making this a race issue – crime is everyway – not just in GT/Dupont Circle/Cap Hill/Reston – we don’t hear about it when it’s black-on-black or white-on-black(which happens you know)

  3. Tom (unregistered) on July 12th, 2006 @ 2:29 pm

    Violent crime would indicate that kids were in school…

    Also, what’s up with blaming Katrina refugees?

  4. In_tears (unregistered) on July 12th, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

    I agree that more police is not the answer. When going to school isn’t safe from getting shot or stabbed to death in DC, how is it possible to make the streets safe in DC?

    Is it possible to make these young black men understand that there are options in life, other than going out there to try to make easy money through crime?

    Unfortunately, these questions and problems have been the topic of discussion and everyone knows there is an answer – it is within the community itself. Hard to do – when most families are single parent fractured families, cost of living in the DC area is expensive, not enough resources to provide alternative approach to educating kids in low income families to motivate them to higher learning… and when you look at the recent murders, there is no sense of remorse. There is something deeper that drives these men to murder without feeling. What is missing from the beginning of their life that society is holding back?

    None of these men have any faith – in themselves, religion nor community. They only know that money and taking down their fellow man gives them power. Maybe we should ship them off to Africa and see how they make it in the bush there, but then again even Africa is not about going back to the basics anymore. Though I’ve never been there, from what I’ve read and seen through the media, I can see that it is not really any different from here. To these men both here and there, life has no value. Only the bling-bling is easier to access here than there.

    Damn, wish I could have solved it in the 5 min it took me to write my comment.

  5. Mik (unregistered) on July 12th, 2006 @ 2:56 pm

    Speculation has been that some of these killings (notably my fellow Brit) were some sort of gang initiation. So perhaps these people (note the woman involved in the recent Georgetown murder) are finding their faith in gangs?

  6. wayan (unregistered) on July 12th, 2006 @ 3:22 pm

    Its not speculation MIK, its reality. The random killing of a dog walker in Mt Pleasant last year is also blamed on gang initiation. That’s what I mean when I say that young men find violent crime to be a means of status – it gives them credibility in their social groups. Social groups that are not always gangs in the formal sense of the word, but still sources of peer acceptance.

  7. Brock (unregistered) on July 12th, 2006 @ 4:35 pm

    I find it amusing that this wasnt mentioned during the post’s “Black Men” expose. Which was a farce. The only way to solve this problem is to do what Guilliani did in NYC. Have a police state in the capital with a curfew for teenages loitering. Black group of teens mugging families and sexual assaulting women on the lawn? Are you kidding. With as many violent crimes that black teens are commiting, not once but dozens of times. Way to go African American fathers. Guess you forgot that in your funny expose.

  8. Fed UP (unregistered) on July 12th, 2006 @ 5:29 pm

    The streets are out of control. If you think the adult black male is going to step up to the plate and take some responsibility for his, and his childrens’ actions, is purely naive. Whatever happened to the million man marches??? Wasn’t that supposed to teach the participants how to take back their communities, and take some responsibility.

    Here we go, because I can hear all the “racist” dribble now. Until the black community as a whole stops feeling sorry for itself, stops feeling a level of entitlement, and stops the hatred and blaming of whites, this will all continue.

    An answer to an earlier post; why isn’t black-on-black crime reported more? Becuase it’s an everyday occurance in their neighborhoods! When it happens in Georgetown, or somewhere where ANYONE (obvioulsy shame on them) should feel safe, and it’s a black-on-white crime, then yes it does hit the headlines…. Get your head out of the sand. Nobody is screaming racism because three blacks attacked two white people. If it was the flip side, you would be screaming racism!! Maybe, just maybe, those three little punks are pure evil racists, just like skinheads.

    Remember, the victim from Britian had his throat slashed!!!! Just one pathetic step away from a true terrorist cutting off his head. Who on this planet does that?!?!?! A true animal, pure and simple.

  9. Don (unregistered) on July 12th, 2006 @ 8:46 pm

    Hey Fed Up, we’re rationing punctuation here and you’ve just used up your next three week’s worth of exclamation points in one comment.

  10. Fed UP (unregistered) on July 12th, 2006 @ 9:49 pm

    Hey Don, way to go pal. Way to stand up and address the real issue. Gee, you must really be passionate about punctuation. I bet everybody here wishes their life was as simple and care-free as yours obviously is.

  11. Don (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 12:24 pm

    It is precisely because I have more weighty matters in my day that I choose not to get in a battle of wits with someone who seems to be only 50% armed.

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