Crime Rates Drop After The City Of Baltimore Decides It's Not Going To Waste Resources Prosecuting Minor Offenses

from the do-you-want-to-help-or-do-you-just-want-to-look-busy dept

The argument against anything perceived as "defunding" cops or going just a bit lighter on suspected criminals (like decriminalization of drug possession or the elimination of cash bail) is that the criminals will win. Apparently all they've been waiting for is fewer laws so they can break more laws… or something.

A few disingenuous people (some of them holding very powerful offices) have claimed it takes nothing more than people being angry at law enforcement to make crime rates rise. Others claim the only way to keep crime rates down is to harshly police every minor infraction.

There's no real answer here. Crime rates rise and fall. Mostly, they've been falling. Here in the United States, we've been enjoying historically low crime rates for most of the last decade. But law enforcement opportunists insist on viewing every deviation from this pattern as the start of an alarming trend, one that can be traced to almost any attempt to introduce accountability to policing.

Over in Baltimore -- where cops have been on a rampage -- crime rates continue to fall. The backlash from rampant law enforcement corruption has resulted in some changes meant to level the criminal justice playing field and direct law enforcement resources towards more serious crimes. The wild card was a worldwide pandemic. Here's Elizabeth Nolan Brown for Reason:

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced in March 2020 that her office would dismiss all pending charges for drug possession, prostitution, trespassing, open container, public urination, paraphernalia possession, attempted distribution of drugs, and minor traffic offenses. It would also stop prosecuting new cases for these offenses—a decision born out of the desire to thwart COVID-19 spreading through jails.

Critics of this action claimed this would embolden criminals. But the opposite has happened. Perhaps partially aided by COIVD-related restrictions, crime rates have fallen in the city.

Between March 2020 and March 2021, violent crime in Baltimore dropped 20 percent and property crime dropped 36 percent. Homicides were also down slightly (13 fewer compared to the previous year).

And, as a direct result of this action (which included dismissing nearly 3,000 pending cases and warrants), the city's jail system is no longer such a drain on residents and their tax dollars. According to the data, incarceration is down 18% and a 40% drop in people "entering the criminal justice system."

Whatever the underlying reasons, this is better for the city. Crime rates are going down one way or the other. And it's not due to aggressive enforcement or giving cops permission to run people in for minor legal infractions. Crime rates may increase as COVID restrictions roll back, but critics can't ignore the results of this criminal justice experiment. And it's not just that fewer people are out or that prosecutors are pushing as many prosecutions. Even citizens seem fine with these relaxed conditions:

The data showed that 911 calls about drug use, public intoxication and sex work (a proxy for public concern) did not increase following the policy; rather, from March – December 2020, there was a 33% reduction in calls mentioning drugs and a 50% reduction in calls mentioning sex work compared to the prior 2 years.

There was also a drop in recidivism, which indicates tons of nickel-and-dime prosecutions aren't essential to curbing crime rate growth. The good news is this is now permanent. The action taken during the beginning of the pandemic will be the way forward for the city of Baltimore. If the city can maintain this new status quo going forward, it should produce a useful dataset that may show the way to a safer nation is less law enforcement, rather than more.

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Filed Under: baltimore, crime, defunding police, minor offenses, police, prosecution


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 2:48pm

    I get what you're saying and all but still the headline has a humorous 'every sixty seconds in Africa, a minute passes' vibe - crime rates fall when we stop charging people with crimes, and all that. Unintended(?) humor aside though, this is fantastic news, and I hope this kind of thing continues to sweep around the US.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    OGquaker, 9 Apr 2021 @ 2:57pm

    Unemployed? Grow a Garden??

    But, what are Cop's going to do to support THEIR families? With a lifetime of having a gun on the hip, first Iraq, than the mean streets of America, is some facile "re-training" going to make them ever feel safe again? Did the authors ever carry a gun; after a week, not wearing the thing is the same feeling as not wearing your pants in public. One in five jobs in the US are about protecting the other four Americans, and that statistic was almost two decades ago. Crime is one more valuable growth industry, and Capitalism (borrowed money) fails without forever expanding markets. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. the US suicide rate is highest among midlife white males already! Is FOX® listening?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 3:03pm

    Re: "The data showed"

    yeah, gotta be cautious here -- accurately measuring "crime rates" in a big city ain't that easy.
    Plus, the Baltimore City government is notoriously incompetent at everything it does.

    looking at 911 calls volume assumes the City employees are diligently responding to all calls and carefully recording the details for further close analysis by other top notch Baltimore city workers.
    And some residents might have chosen not to bother with 911 after the City announced it would ignore minor crimes.

    (BTW where does the Baltimore City Attorney get the formal legal power to dismiss thousands of pending criminal court cases on his own personal whim -- the City, Maryland, and Federal judiciary branches have no problem with that?)

    ... best way to lower crime rates in America is to rescind the hundreds of thousands of foolish laws currently in force.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    MightyMetricBatman, 9 Apr 2021 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: "The data showed"

    The US Supreme Court has repeatedly stated the executive branch has absolute discretion on what crimes they wish to charge.

    A district prosecutor could run for election, win, and do absolutely nothing on a "won't charge anyone under any circumstance" and there is nothing one could do about it.

    See Trump administration not going after the Trump administration for the Hatch act violations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Michael Gantz (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 3:36pm

    Duh? Maybe? Guess we'll need to see a deeper data dive.

    Attention citizens: We will no longer be responding to calls for: drug use, public intoxication and sex work.

    911: Hmmm, we don't seem to be getting many calls for: drug use, public intoxication and sex work.

    Everybody: Yay! Problem solved.

    I understand the complications of an overly militant police force. But at the same time this has a very "Emperor has no clothes" moment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Upstream (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:02pm

    Correlation versus Causation

    I am very much in favor of not prosecuting non-serious non-crimes, but this part struck me as a bit odd:

    The data showed that 911 calls about drug use, public intoxication and sex work (a proxy for public concern) did not increase following the policy; rather, from March – December 2020, there was a 33% reduction in calls mentioning drugs and a 50% reduction in calls mentioning sex work compared to the prior 2 years.

    This could be the result of one or more of several different causes. One might be people thinking "Why report something if the prosecutor / cops aren't going to do anything about it?" Another might be people realizing "These things aren't really causing anyone any harm anyway, so why report them?" A third might be a reduction in the incidence of these activities, which could itself be the result of one or more of several different causes.

    Of course, rather than simply not prosecuting these non-serious non-crimes, it would be much preferable to repeal the immoral laws making such activities illegal to begin with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    bshock, 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:29pm

    On the other hand, if you decide that stealing anything worth less than $1,000 is a minor crime you're not going to prosecute, you're likely to create a criminal Hellscape like San Francisco is becoming.

    The problem is who suffers from what kind of crime. It makes sense to decriminalize things that don't actually hurt anyone, like drug possession or prostitution or being homeless. Theft is a different story, and limiting prosecutions to $1,000+ is ridiculously regressive. If you're well off and someone robs your apartment, you're angry but you're okay -- most of your value is probably in the bank. If you're poor and someone robs your apartment, they could very well wipe out everything you own.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    JoeCool (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:38pm

    Re:

    If you're poor and someone robs your apartment, they could very well wipe out everything you own.

    If you're poor and someone robs your apartment, odds are highly likely that even if the cops respond, they'll never catch whomever did it. That's always been the case. The best you could ever hope was that a fence got busted and happened to have some of your stuff, assuming you had the serial numbers and they hadn't removed the serial numbers from the items. Cops only respond quick enough to possibly catch burglars if the place in question belongs to someone rich or connected.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Glenn, 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:48pm

    The number of crimes committed by cops, though, keeps going up, Up, UP!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Rocky, 9 Apr 2021 @ 5:24pm

    Re:

    On the other hand, if you decide that stealing anything worth less than $1,000 is a minor crime you're not going to prosecute, you're likely to create a criminal Hellscape like San Francisco is becoming.

    I thought that all violent crimes in the SF-area dropped like a rock the last 2 years? Is that what you call a "criminal hellscape" ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 5:32pm

    Re: absolute discretion

    Nope -- there are no such SCOTUS rulings.

    Such absolute executive power would negate the rule of law and the legal authority of legislatures and courts.

    Disputes over the "interpretation" of specific laws is a totally different matter and routinely occurs among the three branches of government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 5:58pm

    Re:

    On the other hand, if you decide that stealing anything worth less than $1,000 is a minor crime you're not going to prosecute, you're likely to create a criminal Hellscape like San Francisco is becoming.

    I know this is the story a bunch of folks like to tell about SF, but the actual data does not support that narrative:

    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/03/vc-lives-matter-silicon-valley-investors-wan t-to-oust-san-franciscos-reformist-da/

    As that article notes (deep in the middle) first, crime in SF has gone down under Chesa and, second, contrary to popular belief he has prosecuted nearly everything the police have brought him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    OGquaker, 9 Apr 2021 @ 6:15pm

    Re: Re: AND

    LA County Sheriff and LAPD NEVER return anything, in fact they get all excited if something re-saleable has been burglarized, from my experience. See "Police Auction". Capitalism demands never-ending expanding markets, Governments demand sales tax. Returning your stuff defeats both.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Christenson, 9 Apr 2021 @ 6:19pm

    Re: Question is, is that reporting bias???

    That is, it certainly seems more likely that we will hear about people dying at the hands of the cops....but is that actually happening more often, or is it that the internet is now much more efficient about bringing it (and bizarre crimes in general) to our attention??

    Got to watch out for the reporting biases!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 6:59pm

    I don't really agree with this.

    Refusing to go after people for minor offenses is literally the same thing as demonstrating that people can break the law with no consequences because it doesn't matter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Mort Adella says this is BALONEY!, 9 Apr 2021 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Re: Those who live in hellholes are used to it!

    The Only Growth Industry in San Francisco Right Now is Crime

    https://www.targetliberty.com/2021/03/the-only-growth-industry-in-san.html

    Overdose deaths far outpace virus deaths in San Fran...

    https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Overdose-deaths-far-outpace-COVID-19-deaths-in-15816356. php

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Mort Adella says this is BALONEY!, 9 Apr 2021 @ 7:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Those who live in hellholes are used to it!

    Even if "crime" has gone down overall -- because simply NOT prosecuting $1000 thefts! -- there are still plenty of illegal aliens who live off the overly generous welfare system in that "sanctuary", are given MORE than fair chance, and yet repay American generosity this way:

    Sanctuary California: Three-Time Deported Illegal Alien Charged with Double Murder in Stabbing Spree

    https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2020/11/25/update-police-identify-san-jose-church-stabbing-s uspect-detail-lengthy-criminal-history/

    Illegal alien Fernando De Jesus Lopez-Garcia was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, battery, and protective order violation after he allegedly stabbed five people inside Grace Baptist Church, killing two of them.

    SO despite Maz's denial, it's clear to anyone not accustomed to living in hellholes that SF is getting worse, not that all is fine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re: absolute discretion

    There are several that discuss many different aspects of this, prosecutorial discretion is a very well established part of the US legal system:
    Bordenkircher v. Hayes
    United States v. Batchelder
    Oyler v. Boyles
    Wade v. United States
    United States v. Armstrong
    Linda v. Richard
    United States v. George
    Blackledge v. Pery
    Wayte v. United States

    It is somewhat less clear if the executive branch as a whole is allowed to foist "discretion" upon the Attorney General's office, but the Attorney General (or equivalent) can absolutely decide to just not prosecute things, or to be incredibly aggressive at proseucting things. There are limited exceptions surrounding retaliation for exercising rights, and for deliberate prosecution based on arbitrary classifications (race/religion/etc). But if the US Attorney General wants to, say, stop prosecuting marijuana crimes in the state of Washington...

    Well, they've been openly doing that for years, if you catch my drift.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Rocky, 9 Apr 2021 @ 8:09pm

    Re:

    The analogy isn't perfect, but if your boat is leaking, do you plug the big leaks first or the small leaks?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 9:03pm

    critics can't ignore the results of this criminal justice experiment.

    They can and will.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 9:16pm

    Re:

    "crime rates fall when we stop charging people with crimes"

    How are the crime rates measured? If they're measured by prosecutions it sounds silly, but if they're measured using statistics that include reported, unprosecuted and even unsolved crimes then it's good news.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 9:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Those who live in hellholes are used to it!

    I love the way that right-wingers obsessed with "sanctuary" cities still haven't worked out what the term actually means.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 9:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your boy Trump lost.

    There is no wall.

    There is no Hilary arrest.

    Get over yourself, blue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 11:37pm

    Re:

    stares in QI

    You don't say.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 11:37pm

    Re:

    Refusing to go after people for minor offenses is literally the same thing as demonstrating that people can break the law with no consequences because it doesn't matter.

    People keep claiming that and the evidence... has shown it's just not true at all. People are not monsters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    OGquaker, 10 Apr 2021 @ 1:12am

    Re: Unemployed? Grow a Garden??

    At my 20 year HS reunion, i noted that my friend was, oddly, eating with his left hand. Having joined the LAPD, he was taught to keep his hand near his gun at all times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2021 @ 5:51am

    Re: Re: Re: absolute discretion

    prosecutorial-discretion is a very much narrower issue, but exists no where in constitutional text. It's like police Qualified Immunity -- a total fabrication from a few government judges.

    Also, US Constitution states the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2021 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re:

    I don't recall saying monsters. But why have laws if you're just going ignore enforcing them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2021 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re:

    You plug them both at the same time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. icon
    PaulT (profile), 10 Apr 2021 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "But why have laws if you're just going ignore enforcing them?"

    Everybody breaks laws every day. Mostly minor, but everyone commits at least a misdemeanour in their daily lives. Most enforcement is selective. Public opinion shifts as to which is more important compared to what the cops want to enforce (see: weed laws, especially when race is considered).

    Changing laws is difficult and requires a lot more time and effort than simply agreeing that a certain class of offence is not worth the cost. It happens all the time, which is one of the reasons that people are trying to take the decision out of the hands of militarised police forces.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Anon, 10 Apr 2021 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: SF Hellscape

    In the viral video of some perps in what appeared to be a stolen car driving up beside another vehicle stuck in traffic, smashing the back window to steal photography equipment (likely followed them from pro photo shoot)... General comments on Reddit were that the perps would never be prosecuted, that smash-and-grab of several thousand dollars of equipment was not worth the police chasing nor the DA prosecuting. I hope that's not true, but it certainly shows the attitude in SF, where people also complained that the homeless mentally unbalanced harassed and assaulted people on the street and human feces on the street was a worse problem than dog poop ever was...

    it may be a "perception" but it's based on something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2021 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: "The data showed"

    where does the Baltimore City Attorney get the formal legal power to dismiss thousands of pending criminal court cases on his own personal whim

    Uh... that's the normal power of all prosecutors. Prosecute, or not, on their whim pretty much. It has a name...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2021 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: absolute discretion

    You mean the Laws that aren't in the Constitution? How do those even exist? Like PD and QI. How do police departments and prosecutors and the NSA and highway departments exist? Total fabrications!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2021 @ 11:19am

    Re: Duh? Maybe? Guess we'll need to see a deeper data dive.

    You realize that 911 constantly takes calls for all sorts of stuff which has no business being a 911 call. That announcement, factored by the people who were aware of it and actually remembered, will hardly make a difference for people who freak out about such things.

    Now, for the people who call because they are afraid they will somehow get screwed if they don't "say something because they saw something" here in Prison America, theyyyyy mighta stopped calling.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2021 @ 11:22am

    Re:

    Despite what police procedurals and "true" crime docutainment portray, it's something like one-third or less of any kinds of thefts or murders are resolved. And "resolved" just means the cops think a case is closed, regardless of how it actually got closed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2021 @ 11:56am

    THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!
    NO....... that's just the crime rate your seeing! now move along sheeple nothing to see here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2021 @ 4:17pm

    Re: Correlation versus Causation

    Heck, some of it could be "I stayed home all day and so I didn't see anything worth reporting".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Allan Masri, 10 Apr 2021 @ 4:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I had an interesting experience with credit card fraud a few years ago. My wallet was stolen and the credit card was used to purchase expensive sports shoes. While the bank had still not replaced my card, I went over to that store and tried to buy something with a different card, but without ID. The person at the cash register declined to accept my card.

    I concluded (since it was a small sporting-goods store) that the person who used the card must have been known to the person who accepted it, since the store policy would be to decline fraudulent purchases. I called my credit card company and they said they didn't care to follow up on the transaction, maybe I should call the local police. But the police weren't interested in following up either.

    But, as we have all verified from recent headlines, police have been interested in arresting (and killing) a man for selling single cigarettes with a value under $1; and also in arresting (and killing) a man for paying with a counterfeit $20. So I would conclude that these reforms are long overdue, because de minimis arrests give police license and opportunity to harass, hustle, and arrest people for the crime of being black or brown or just looking different.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. icon
    PaulT (profile), 10 Apr 2021 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: SF Hellscape

    "it may be a "perception" but it's based on something."

    If your perception is based on a random video and some comments about that video from people who may or may not actually live in the city, you might wants to change how you get your information. There's better ways to get your crime data, and it's not anecdotes on Reddit.

    On the other hand, homelessness is a known problem in the city, and I believe they've actually just appointed someone to deal specifically with that problem. Last time I was there it was a noticeable problem, and I'm curious as to how it's changed with the pandemic, etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. icon
    PaulT (profile), 10 Apr 2021 @ 7:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The person at the cash register declined to accept my card.

    I concluded (since it was a small sporting-goods store) that the person who used the card must have been known to the person who accepted it"

    That's a leap. Why do you not conclude that the person at the till that day just couldn't be bothered to do his job properly, that they used some kind of sleight of hand or that the customer managed to con him into accepting something as ID that shouldn't have been acceptable under normal circumstances?

    You could be right, but there's other possibilities than deliberate fraud.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    HolyCow, 10 Apr 2021 @ 10:17pm

    Literally fake news and leftist propaganda

    According to latest FBI preliminary crime stats crime rose to unprecedented levels in 2020. Don't you have a slightest bit of shame and journalistic integrity left? This whole piece is literal leftist propaganda opinion piece and complete fake news.

    Most of those de-fund the police cities like Minneapolis and Seattle have already done a complete 180 on this and significantly increased police budgets back to former levels. This only in a couple of months after crime rose to unprecedented levels.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Apr 2021 @ 12:21am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If you've got the ability to be in multiple places and doing multiple things at one time then what the hell are you doing on a boat, you should be in a hospital or disaster rescue not patching holes in a ship!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. icon
    PaulT (profile), 11 Apr 2021 @ 12:26am

    Re: Literally fake news and leftist propaganda

    I tend to find that if someone attacks an article because they have figures that disprove the article, but they fail to cite any of those figures or other claims, then the post can be safely ignored.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 11 Apr 2021 @ 12:59am

    Re: Re: Literally fake news and leftist propaganda

    Also if they jump in and insist there must be a political viewpoint behind the article, it can easily be ignored. It's funny how people are calling us "leftwing" for this (despite criminal justice reform not really being considered particularly tied to leftwing politics), and when we criticize democrats, we're called "right wing."

    Generally if someone accuses us of being a "wing" it generally means that... they're clueless and close minded and are just mad that we're reporting on something that debunks some thing they've decided must be true.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2021 @ 4:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You're assuming that you have the resources to plug both.

    Police departments will readily tell you that they don't have enough. It's certainly not helped by the fact that they pick and choose what offenses to respond to. And when they do respond, it can be so over-the-top that tragic consequences are not unheard of. It's why cities burned for a bit in 2020 because some knuckledragger thought that a minor offense necessitated nine minutes of pressure to the neck.

    Your original post also assumes that police don't already refuse to go after minor offenses, for which they'll readily cite their lack of resources as an excuse to ignore minor offenses. Unless they happen to someone important.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. icon
    ECA (profile), 11 Apr 2021 @ 12:29pm

    Long ago..

    The USA gov decided that the employment rates were to high, and figured ONLY counting certain things and ways to SEE' the true rate. NOT counting those that were NOT using the Facilities(that only last so long) was a Much better way to see the numbers.
    When the true numbers were in double digits, seeing 3-5% was better then 10-20%.
    Anyone remember Trump wanting to limit the number to TESTS to evaluate the Virus.

    Ya, I get it, DONT count things that YOU think arnt relevant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. icon
    JMT (profile), 11 Apr 2021 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Literally fake news and leftist propaganda

    "According to latest FBI preliminary crime stats crime rose to unprecedented levels in 2020."

    "I'm going to make a bold claim in complete opposition to the author based on supposed proof that I have not provided, then get all butthurt when nobody believes me!"

    "Don't you have a slightest bit of shame and journalistic integrity left?"

    The post is full of links you can follow to get more info on the claims made. Your comment has... nothing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2021 @ 6:07pm

    Re:

    I would pose the question as to how much that concern is worth to you?

    Let's start with a crime where $100 was stolen. That would involve sending out a cop or three, plus travel costs. There would be some paperwork. That paperwork would touch a number of hands before getting to where it needs to go. Those people don't work for free.

    And we haven't even started investigating yet.

    But let's say the person is somehow caught. You book him into jail, then feed & water him until he makes bail. After that, there's a trial, or at least there are lawyers involved. And then either we pay to keep him in jail, or pay a probation office to keep track of him.

    With all that in mind, coupled with the fact the taxpayers are footing the bill for this, how much are you willing to spend to punish a $100 or $1000 crime?

    Wouldn't it be more cost effective to just give the person $100 or $1000 and call it good?

    You can talk about law & order, backing the blue, and all the things that make you feel comfy & warm. But feeding and watering one of, if not the largest prison population in the world isn't something that comes with a small price tag. If jail was effective, the inmate population would decrease over time, rather than increase or remain the same.

    I'd say it's a piss poor return on investment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Apr 2021 @ 5:04am

    Re: Duh? Maybe? Guess we'll need to see a deeper data dive.

    "I understand the complications of an overly militant police force. But at the same time this has a very "Emperor has no clothes" moment."

    Where the US police force is concerned you also have to ask yourself which of the Emperor's new invisible suits he wasn't wearing was revealed.

    Were the statistics on petty crimes just padded by police officers hauling in anyone suspected of petty crime due to chasing quotas, exercising bigotry and/or sadism, or just being general thugs eagerly padding their resume?

    Is it that once the hysterical dingbat in the neighborhood can't get a squad car to come out every time s/he sees someone dressed "like a sex worker" (not wearing a burkha or vintage 60's ankle length one-piece), "probably intoxicated or on drugs" (any teenager or similar hellspawn not visibly beholden to good old calvinist values), or "a drug dealer or gangbanger" (Being Brown In Public or dressed like any modern teen)?

    Or is it that these petty crimes still exist, were never actually that big a problem in the first place, and the proper response to some drunk pissing in an alley is to send them on their way after a public scolding, the reasonable response to someone dealing pot is just a quick frisking to check s/he isn't carrying something harder, and the proper way to deal with prostitution is to check whether there's trafficking, violence or coercion involved?

    You are certainly correct in that there are a lot of unknowns, but there are two dead certain indicators that not prosecuting minor offenses may be for the better. Court costs are VERY expensive for the public purse and there is no justification for pushing someone caught smoking pot into the cycle of unreasonable draconian penalties which often ends them in unpaid perpetual servitude in some prison sweatshop.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Apr 2021 @ 6:27am

    Re:

    "Theft is a different story, and limiting prosecutions to $1,000+ is ridiculously regressive."

    So...from where did you get the idea that theft was included among the offenses not to be prosecuted? From the OP it looks like the only thing exempted from prosecution was victimless crime and petty misdemeanors. I'm pretty sure none of the misdemeanors mentioned by the prosecutor came close to 1000$ in value, unless the "public urination" charge is on a work of art soluble in urine.

    Sure, were those hypotheticals added to the OP there'd be a problem, no doubt. As there isn't, pushing the goalposts a bit and propping up a straw man lacks relevance to this debate.

    The OP as written doesn't contain any indicators that vandalism, theft, arson, fraud or burglary - or any other offense likely to rack up a thousand dollars worth of damages - would be included.

    Setting down general specifics as to what type of misdemeanor isn't prosecutable any longer might add those hypotheticals - but I'd personally suggest that rather than a set dollar value the core criteria ought to be whether the offense had a victim or not.

    Public urination? Fine, have the cop discovering the leaky offender scold him in full view then send him off. Public urination on someone else? Suddenly a different story.
    Given that making a copy of a song has unreal statutory damages attached I'd be surprised if other petty misdemeanors aren't similarly evaluated.
    Context matters more than a sheer dollar value, and especially so concerning petty crimes which may have had a disproportionate "cost" attached, pulled from someone's ass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Apr 2021 @ 6:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Get over yourself, blue."

    He never will. For the last ten years or so his life has been a long, long series of excited moments where some new law has had him believing that any day now those evil pirates and scofflaws will ALL be carted off in chains to suffer his asserted dreams of prison rape and torture. Only to be followed by long periods of soul-crushing disappointment when it turns out that no, as before no pirates are going to Abu Ghraib and it still isn't illegal to be Brown or Jewish.

    I normally say he never changes but lately he may have begun to dimly realize that all his fantasies are going to remain unfulfilled. He's even less imaginative than he used to be and it's almost as if he's just beating the dead horse without his usual expectation that it will suddenly stand up and heroically carry him into the goal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Apr 2021 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "You plug them both at the same time."

    Yeah, well, in the real world there's a problem. You have thousands of minor leaks who aren't threatening the boat's seaworthiness.

    You have a number of bigger leaks who ARE threatening the boats seaworthiness. And every ten small leaks you plug means one major leak doesn't get plugged because you don't have enough plugs and not enough hands to do it all.

    That's how "court time" and "a limited number of public prosecutors" works.

    Now, considering your earlier assertion;

    "Refusing to go after people for minor offenses is literally the same thing as demonstrating that people can break the law with no consequences because it doesn't matter."

    Yes, and looking at what actually happened it appears the amount of crimes went down. We can argue about the cause but if you insist that possession of weed or pissing in a public alley is supposed to drain thousands of dollars and dozens of hours from the public purse and the time, then I can only state that you should never be allowed to be in charge of priorization on ANY level.

    Also, context matters. It's a pretty damn open question whether any of the publicized misdemeanors should even be considered prosecutable crimes to begin with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Apr 2021 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "But why have laws if you're just going ignore enforcing them?"

    Good question to begin with. WHY is there an actual law on the tablets mandating that the public purse needs to bear thousands of dollars worth of strain every time some drunk asshat takes a leak in an alley? What good does it do? Nothing.

    Sane people and sober people find a toilet instead, and those who aren't won't have learned a damn thing even if the "punishment" assigned was spending three months with their testicles attached to the wall socket in Abu Ghraib.

    The problem is that just because something is a law doesn't mean it's sane or should be law. Examples from a brief google query;

    "Skamania County, Washington, passed a law in 1969 deeming the "slaying of Bigfoot to be a felony and punishable by 5 years in prison." The law was later amended, designating Bigfoot as an endangered species."

    • And that is still on the books. A law essentially saying that a mythical creature akin to a unicorn or dragon, is endangered.

    "In 1931, West Virginia passed a law banning "lewd and lascivious cohabitation and conduct before marriage." The law was finally repealed in 2010."

    • OK. 2010. Two thousand and fucking ten. A law I'm sure violated many hundreds of millions of times in the dark medieval ages of...up to 2009.

    "In Utah, it's illegal to "cause a catastrophe." State law defines a catastrophe as widespread injury or damage caused by weapons of mass destruction, explosion, fire, flood, avalanche, or building collapse."

    • OK, consider that wording and try to imagine when that law could even be applicable, or what use it actually has.

    "Mississippi once passed a law stipulating that any person who has already had an illegitimate child and again becomes the parent of an illegitimate child within the state is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by fines, jail time or both."

    • Basically "you fucked without being married. Go to jail, harlot".

    "In Rockville, Maryland it's illegal to "profanely curse and swear or use obscene language upon or near any street, sidewalk or highway within the hearing of persons passing by, upon or along such street, sidewalk or highway.""

    • Another law entirely rooted in the perception of bad language somehow being injurious to even hear.

    "According to a Gainesville proclamation passed in 1961 designed to promote Gainesville as a poultry center, it's illegal to eat fried chicken with a fork. In 2009, a woman was arrested as a practical joke for violating the law, but was later pardoned."

    • I have no words.

    "Florida ran into a bit of trouble in 2013 when it accidentally banned all computers in the state."

    Meanwhile 200,000 minors were legally married to older spouses between 2000 and 2015 and in no few of these case, said minors were explicitly prohibited by law from leaving their spouse, divorce, or seek shelter.

    TL;DR?

    Just because something "is a law" doesn't mean that it ought to be, that it makes any logical sense, or should be enforced...at least until saner minds in the legislature manage to abolish the damn thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Apr 2021 @ 7:37am

    Re: Literally fake news and leftist propaganda

    "According to latest FBI preliminary crime stats crime rose to unprecedented levels in 2020."

    Weird. You must be reading from a different FBI then the US one;

    "The FBI’s Preliminary Uniform Crime Report, January–June, 2020, reveals overall declines in the number of violent crimes and property crimes reported for the first six months of 2020 when compared with figures for the first six months of 2019."

    • Source; FBI news webpage.

    So by your own arguments the FBI are leftists feeding everyone false facts?

    Damn, Baghdad Bob, that liberal conspiracy you keep screaming about just keeps growing, doesn't it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. icon
    PaulT (profile), 12 Apr 2021 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "possession of weed or pissing in a public alley is supposed to drain thousands of dollars and dozens of hours from the public purse and the time"

    There's also the longer term consequences to consider. Over-enforcement of these rules can have knock-on effects that make things worse over time. For example, letting people off with these actions will likely lead to no major long-term consequences - the guy with some weed just goes home and gets stoned, the drunk guy pissing in an alleyway goes home and sleeps it off. There's some health and safety considerations depending on the circumstances, but largely they're victimless crimes.

    On the other hand - the guy with possession might find it more difficult to get a job or be fired from his current job, leading to not only a greater strain on social programs, but a higher likelihood of needing to turn to more severe criminal activities to pay the bills. The guy with public urination on his rap sheet could find himself labelled a sex offender depending on how overzealous the prosecutor is, or if he moves to a different state that treats such things differently.

    Such unintended consequences could be rare overall, but I'm sure there's real world examples of people who turned to more serious (and thus more costly to society) crimes after their initial "victimless" crimes turned into convictions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Apr 2021 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re: Literally fake news and leftist propaganda

    Even better. A quick check to the fbi.gov website shows the preliminary numbers for jan-june 2020 (the latest) are down, not up.

    So as usual the alt-right crowd are doing their reporting by sticking their head up their own ass and presenting what they catch with their teeth as "fact".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. icon
    Hyman Rosen (profile), 12 Apr 2021 @ 9:27am

    Re: How much is it worth?

    It's worth infinity. Prosecuting and punishing people who prey on others should be the first order of business for local governments. Looking out for the interests of the dregs of society should come last.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2021 @ 9:46am

    Re: Duh? Maybe? Guess we'll need to see a deeper data dive.

    Hang on a minute there, where does it say the police will not respond? The decision is that the prosecutor will no proceed with exiting and new charges. I am sure that the police will still respond and collect statistics because they are useful as political leverage to expand their powers and budgets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2021 @ 10:27am

    Re:

    Yeah, initially kinda thought the same thing. But the article does specify that ignoring the little stuff caused a reduction in A) Violent Crime and B) Property Damage, both of which remained fully enforced.

    The grain of salt here is that it was during various stages of lockdown. Not only are fewer people out and about, and there are fewer "targets" (at least from crimes such as mugging and hold-ups), but fewer people out = more law enforcement eyes per active person. The greater scrutiny may have dissuaded some crimes as well. Especially since tensions around the country were putting a spotlight on police "vigilance"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2021 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: How much is it worth?

    So then who pays for this once those who have to pay higher taxes to essentially feed & house more criminals decide that living in that area isn't worthwhile?

    You seem to think that law & order is entitled to any cost necessary. If your taxes went up 20-30%, would that just be a drop in the bucket for you? Because if it is, I'm not talking about your taxes - I'm talking about losing an area's middle class.

    And before you say 'whatever' consider that's the only buffer between those who need to commit crime versus the wealthy who have money to insulate themselves from it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2021 @ 9:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    He's even less imaginative than he used to be and it's almost as if he's just beating the dead horse without his usual expectation that it will suddenly stand up and heroically carry him into the goal.

    Not that it was a high bar to clear, but blue was never imaginative. He's always been going on about that post from 2011. All Trump did was give him ammunition until the consequences finally caught up to him, but even then all that blue had was hot air. To his credit he did vanish from the post-Prenda era briefly and after the vaccine content moderation thread superseded his "Devin Nunes memo thread" pet project as the longest comment thread on the site to date, but when the nicest thing anyone can say about you is the fact that you weren't around... well, that's not exactly flattering.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62. icon
    PaulT (profile), 12 Apr 2021 @ 10:54pm

    Re: Re: How much is it worth?

    "It's worth infinity"

    Which is a strange thing really, since the US not only has the highest level of incarceration in the "civilised" world, but some of the highest crime rates as well. Almost as if the best way to prevent crime is to deal with it in other ways, which are less costly in both human and financial terms.

    But, hey, it's also a country that decries public healthcare as "socialism" while also spending vastly more money on it than countries that supply 100% of their healthcare for "free", so at least there's a track record...

    "Looking out for the interests of the dregs of society should come last."

    You know what helps prevent crime? Treating the worst among you as human beings and helping them avoid the situations that lead them to crime. Those "dregs" can actually be useful members of society if you don't lock them up as early as possible then prevent them from getting meaningful employment after you release them...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63. icon
    PaulT (profile), 12 Apr 2021 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Re:

    "The grain of salt here is that it was during various stages of lockdown. Not only are fewer people out and about, and there are fewer "targets""

    This is anecdotal, but where I am there was actually a marked increase in burglary and robbery, the thieves could be more confident that there wouldn't be witnesses wandering around. A friend of mine owns a bar on the beach front. Her front doors got smashed in with a car in the early hours of the morning - a bold move normally as there's usually people walking along the beachfront at all hours of the night, but with lockdowns and curfews, they knew they'd not see anyone unless they were unlucky enough to encounter a police patrol.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 Apr 2021 @ 11:14pm

    'Murica does love it's 'Screw you, I got mine' mindset...

    That's crazy talk that is, why the very thought of helping people in dire situations and/or who are going to be in dire situations out so they aren't desperate enough that breaking the law becomes a viable option is madness of the highest order, clearly the best way to combat crime is to run as many people as possible through the legal meatgrinder and/or ignore those in need such that they have no reason not to resort to crime as they have nothing left to lose, no attachment or investment to the society that abandoned them and no room for improvement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2021 @ 5:10am

    Re: Re:

    People are not monsters.

    I get what your trying to say (I think), but that's fairly broad statement.
    All you have to do is look at some of our trolls here, and you can see some people clearly want to be monsters. Although I agree that most people are not monsters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Apr 2021 @ 5:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Not that it was a high bar to clear, but blue was never imaginative. "

    Hence why it's been so noticeable. It's like he isn't even trying any more. Most of his normal spiel could probably be thrown into a comment box by mere muscle memory by now, but every now and then he'd adapt some new pretzel logic talking point he'd stumbled across in some murky echo chamber and try to use it for any and every occasion, until people heckled him enough for it.

    Gone are the days when he'd pound down long wordwalls of "You evil pirates will ALL be PuNiShEd! Ghrnh!" or brilliant and inspired defense of such pillars of morality as Steele and Hansmeier. I mean, these days even the village idiot visitors from Stormfront - Shel10 and Restless94110 are owning him in shit rhetoric.

    No, these days poor Baghdad Bob just comes off like a whoopee cushion someone deflated with a shotgun. His air isn't hot or even lukewarm anymore and the farts he keeps trying to waft this way are limpid and without any energy at all.

    "when the nicest thing anyone can say about you is the fact that you weren't around... well, that's not exactly flattering."

    Well, that's not quite true. Every now and then he'd manage to pound out some argument wrong on so many levels I doubt many people could swing it deliberately. His worth as a debater, astroturfer, troll or even human may have been close to nil but occasionally his decrepit clown act did inspire a smile of bemused disbelief.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2021 @ 6:01am

    Re: Re: Re: How much is it worth?

    But, hey, it's also a country that decries public healthcare as "socialism"

    Interesting note, Paul. Socialism is bad, and yet here's this guy, freely spending everyone else's money to punish someone for taking $1000.

    Hey Hymen, why are you trying to push a liberal socialist agenda?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Apr 2021 @ 6:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I'm sure there's real world examples of people who turned to more serious (and thus more costly to society) crimes after their initial "victimless" crimes turned into convictions."

    Yes, the US recidivist proportion speaks quite clearly. In your youth you smoke a joint, get caught, and twenty years later you haven't managed to land a single job since no one wants a convict in for a drug offense. The guy who at 18 got sauced to the gills and pissed in the town square fountain is twenty years down the same road either homeless or a hardened criminal - because that's the only way to survive if you were registered as a sex offender by dropping trou under the influence.

    The US prison population per capita beats El Salvador, Turkmenistan, Rwanda and Thailand by wide margins, beating every other nation on earth - including China and Russia.

    It's pretty clear that a number of offenses americans are sent to jail for probably shouldn't be offenses in the first place, or at least not merit incarceration. It's also clear that making "running a prison" a profitable endeavor hasn't contributed positively to the situation.

    You would think americans, so besotted in what they call "capitalism" ought to have realized how the market, given fiscal incentive to keep as many people as possible locked up as cash cows and indentured labor, will produce the scenario where locking people up becomes an end goal in itself - and has a powerful lobby acting to sway the body politic to this end.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Apr 2021 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re: How much is it worth?

    "It's worth infinity."

    Well, it's coming out of your paycheck and is money you don't get fed into medicare, medicaid, public roads, water, the postal service, public education, etc etc. And it isn't just court costs and police work. When the US pays 80 billion dollars a year to keep people incarcerated, I'd have imagined there'd be at least someone who knows the value of money who'd like to see what you're paying for.

    So perhaps it should be formulated like this instead; "How much burden are you willing to place on yourself and every other honest person in the name of retaliation?"

    Especially given that the guy who goes to jail for a petty crime comes out a convict, meaning he's unemployable and so has no other choice but becoming a career criminal. When fiat iustitia ruat caelum eans you only breed more and harder criminals rather than bringing down the population of active criminals then you aren't doing it right.

    "Prosecuting and punishing people who prey on others should be the first order of business for local governments."

    Nope. preventing people from preying on others should be the first order. What you just said is the basis as to why the US has the highest prison population per capita in the world and STILL stands as one of the unsafest places you can live in the G20.

    Your argument, in reality, means "Screw everything as long as we get retaliation!".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Apr 2021 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re: How much is it worth?

    "Those "dregs" can actually be useful members of society if you don't lock them up as early as possible then prevent them from getting meaningful employment after you release them..."

    Sweden once did a study on it's "hardened" prison population - the recidivists with impulse control problems getting caught on one assault charge after the other.
    Turns out some 30% of them actually had ADHD and a pilot program had hundreds of them out after five years, making an honest living.

    Of course, to someone like Hyman here, spending the cash for a diagnosis and a few cans of adderall on the dregs of society is anathema, because his world is a utopia where bad things never happen to good people and so "criminals" are just born evil, or something.

    A depressing 18th century mindset shared by all too many americans. Which is why their prison system and their street safety also resembles the 18th century model.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 13 Apr 2021 @ 10:50am

    Re: Literally fake news and propaganda

    Thank you for so clearly labeling your fake news for us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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