Crime Takes a Holiday

Have you heard the news?  We are in a crime recession.  In major U. S. cities, such as San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., the overall crime rate has plunged significantly, in some places by 40%.  Here are D.C.’s latest figures:

D.C. Crime Statistics Through July 15

This data was obtained from the Metropolitan Police Department web site using its crime mapping application.

Crime Jan. 1-July 15, 2008 Jan. 1-July 15 2009 Change (#) Change (%)
Homicide 92 76 -16% -17%
Sex Abuse 229 167 -62 -27%
Robbery 2,210 2,273 +163 +3%
Assault 1,579 1,355 -224 -14%
Burglary 2,137 1,838 -299 -14%
Theft 9,226 9,679 +453 +5%
Motor Vehicle Theft 2,875 2,467 -408 -14%
Arson 24 28 +4 +17%
TOTAL 18,367 17,883 -484 -3%

No one is quite sure as to why this phenomenon has occurred.  I have some theories.  Natch.  Could the reason possibly be that we are witnessing so much crime amongst our lawmakers, politicians and business magnates that your run-of-the-mill street crime person  actually is getting his jollies vicariously just by watching all these elite idiots trip over their own criminal actions?  Could be.  After all, there are not enough hours in a day to commit crimes AND take in on the sidelines all the garbage going down in our halls of government, business and other loop-holed structures that make up our great country.

Let’s take on the murderers first.  Why bother to kill anyone and risk incarceration?  Just go out and slay your wife and children.  How many times has that been reported in the last six months?  Really though: a person who is found guilty of killing a child or two, or three, or four, never gets as severe  a sentence that would be handed down if the victim was a bona fide adult.  Could it be because children have no voting rights?  Or could it be that we place no value on our childrens’ lives?  You do realize that, per annum, we spend upwards of four times on each jailed criminal than we do on each child’s public education.  Further, now that we have an influx of white collar criminals in the pokey, are we going to upgrade the facilities to keep them living in the style to which they have become accustomed?  Should taxpayers cover the cost, for example, for a daily Wall Street Journal for Bernie Madoff?  Oops, I forgot.  He didn’t even read that newspaper when he was a free man.  He had no need for investment advice, since he took all the new money flowing into his company and used it to pay off the earlier investors,  plus add a bit more to his stash fund.

Why has sexual offenses declined?  Maybe it is because all a pervert has to do to relieve his “stress” is to plunk his rump down on any street corner and watch the parade of incredibly scantily dressed females — and males.  It dawned on me the other day just how skimpy most Americans dress.  Their tank tops plunge all the way down to their belly buttons, their industrial strength push-up bras elevate their contents up to their foreheads, their low-rise slacks make you think that we have had a crippling earthquake because the exposed cracks are long and wide and then the midriff shirts expose bellies like I have never before seen in public.  Thanks to our educational credo since the 1970’s, i.e. self esteem is the most important lesson we can impart to our kids regardless of educational failure, unhealthy principles of  living and laziness, there is no crisis of modesty here.The phrase “good job” has lost any meaning because it it so inappropriately and over used.  Hey — as long as you feel good about yourself, the outcome does not matter.  So the potential sexual predator has not much of a reason to commit a crime.  He has only to observe a cross-section of our happy, feel good, free-for-all society.

Talking about “feel good”, the drug dealings and offenses are also on the decline.  Hell, there is more profit in contraband cigarettes today than in crack or heroin.  The drug pipeline is now fueled by these cigarettes and also by prescription drugs.  Why would an addict need a drug dealer anymore when he has his own personal doctor or emergency room eager to hand out prescriptions for the cost of a nice, fat office visit fee?  Even many a parent who never met a prescription he didn’t like and finds the need for mood altering drugs just to get through life in general and compete on a par with his colleagues, now has a medicine cabinet filled to the brim with prescription drugs that his kids can tap into for whatever high they so desire.  Nah — no need for drug dealers anymore.

I do not know if automobile accident fatalities have gone up or down in number.  But since we appear loathe to make cell phoning and texting illegal (and I mean TOTALLY illegal, even hands-free cell phone use while driving a car), I bet that rate might increase.  Mo Dowd of the New York Times wrote on this disaster waiting to exponentially explode:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/22/opinion/22dowd.html?_r=1

Shoot: have you read about the scientists at Virginia Tech who have developed a special car so that blind people can drive?  Here is the link:

http://www.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/state_regional/article/BLINDGAT15_20090715-090602/280058/

Sorry folks: I would rather be at the mercy of a texting teenage driver than a blind person behind the wheel.  Call me silly.  Call me stupid.  Call me irresponsible.

Finally, one area of crime that is increasing is that of hate crimes.  Please read this for an overview and some special statistics:

http://www.civilrights.org/publications/hatecrimes/nature-and-magnitude.html

The recent violation of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his own home speaks volumes not only to the widespread discrimination afflicting our country but also to the individual anger of our civil servants supposedly free from any prejudices in their enforcement the law.  Today in the New York Times, Lawrence Bobo, W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard and colleague of Gates, wrote a powerful article on this incident.  You must read it:

http://www.theroot.com/views/what-do-you-call-black-man-phd

Whether the institutional, generalized fear of African-American males or the personal anger of the police officer is the main cause of this outrageous incident, the part that disgusts me the most is that the police officer, AFTER Gates presented to him his identification showing that indeed he lived at that address and his Harvard University I.D., STILL did not have the common decency and courtesy to apologize or stop the escalation of of the situation.  Moreover, the policeman refused to show Gates his own badge and identification.  Adding insult to injury, the policeman proceeded to arrest Gates for disorderly behavior.  He was then held, in handcuffs, for four hours at the police station.

So even though the overall crime statistics have fallen recently, one crime that is no where near going away is hate.  It is irrelevant if these hate crimes are motivated by race, gender, religion or just a meaningless difference between people; they are all horrible acts.

Yes, crime has taken a holiday of late.  However, there exists the potential for even more heinous crimes to flourish.  Just go and visit Cambridge, Massachusetts for confirmation.

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