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Monday
Jun082015

Incentives and crime

Here's a story from the Washington Post on the increase in crime in West Baltimore since Freddie Gray's death and subsequent arrest of six police officers.

Thursday’s deaths continue a grisly and dramatic uptick in homicides across Baltimore that has so far claimed the lives of 38 people. Meanwhile, arrests have plunged: Police are booking fewer than half the number of people they pulled off the streets last year.

Does this surprise anyone? The police are routinely villified in the neighborhoods where they're needed most. Now they're arrested and charged with a variety of crimes - most likely to see which ones will stick - in a rush to judgment. Not only do the police fear arrest themselves for any arrest that goes awry, the residents of West Baltimore also feel free to intimidate the police:

“Our officers tell me that when officers pull up, they have 30 to 50 people surrounding them at any time,” [Police Commissioner ]Batts said. 

The result:

West Baltimore residents worry they’ve been abandoned by the officers they once accused of harassing them, leaving some neighborhoods like the Wild West without a lawman around.

Well, one solution is to appreciate the cops when they're on the beat.


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