Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Justice system should focus resources on "power few" criminals who drive most crime

I wonder if these two items are related?

First, over at Corrections Sentencing, Michael writes that:
A new study suggests that too much money is wasted on low-risk crime targets. Both crime and prison populations could be reduced dramatically by focusing on the “power few” criminals who commit the most crime, according to Lawrence Sherman, Director of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania and Professor of Criminology at Cambridge University, UK.

Using data across a wide range of research, Sherman shows that most crime is committed by a small fraction of all criminals, at a tiny fraction of all locations, against a tiny fraction of all victims, during a few hours a week. By focusing police, probation, parole, rehabilitation, security and prison resources on these “power few” units with the most crime, the study shows how society could stand a far better chance at crime prevention without raising costs.

“Billions of dollars in criminal justice costs are wasted each year on people and places with almost no risk of serious violent crime,” said Sherman, “while the high-risk targets receive far too little attention.” Citing rising homicide rates in Philadelphia since 2002, his research shows how more rehabilitation for a tiny number of offenders may have been able to prevent many of the murders.

The study shows that the key to making the most out of these extreme concentrations of crime would be to test prevention strategies aimed only at these few crime locations, times, situations, victims or offenders.
Then, in the Dallas Morning News, I find this item: "Man held in hundreds of Dallas County burglaries." Certainly focusing on suspects who police believe committed hundreds of similar crimes makes a lot more sense than some of the more random enforcement tactics police engage in, e.g., conducting "fishing expeditions" at traffic stops.

OTOH, this could be emblematic of a different problem - the periodic tendency for Dallas County to charge and convict innocent people. "I've been late paying my mortgage every month for the last three years," said the suspect. "If I broke into 200 homes, I wouldn't be in bankruptcy. ... I'm barely eating." Good point.

Whatever the truth of the charges against this one defendant, it struck me as interesting to read both of these items and realize the Dallas burglary case, if the fellow turns out to have done what police say he has, more or less exemplifies the empirical data and theoretical conclusions in the study described by Science Daily ("Less is more in fighting crime," Nov. 26).

In any event, prioritizing enforcement resources and incarceration space for more serious offenders makes enormous sense from a public safety perspective. I've never understood why the idea is often portrayed as such a radical thing - as former House Corrections Chair Ray Allen used to say, it's smarter to focus limited criminal justice resources on people who we're afraid of, not on those whom we're only "mad at."


Anonymous said...

The fishing expeditions will give a better return return on investment in terms of dollars taken in per manhour than trying to catch a highly successful and very busy burglar. Fighting crime is a high-cost low-yield business.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

But the public safety benefit of catching that one burglar are much higher than from the low-hanging fruit caught at fishing expeditions. You get what you pay for, and we pay for a system that focuses more on easily convicted, low-risk threats instead of people who pose more serious risks.

Anonymous said...

But how could politicians run on "getting tough on crime"? Where would all the money go that law enforcement has come to depend on for souped up vehicles to chase "evaders",super powered radios, SWAT teams, (HA!), and other toys? I mean crime fighting equipment! Come on, common sense is rarely used when it comes to spending our money-on anything, not just crime. Law Enforcement is big business with LOTS of employees. And I am one!

Anonymous said...

It's called "net widening." That's or criminal justice process today. How much more empirical evidence to we need to prove the point. If only politicians and the public would listen. The MSM has to accept responsibility for a lot of this nonsense.

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Anonymous said...

Here is a low cost case, a public benefit, a case that focuses on low hanging fruit that yielded the city of Round Rock a hardend criminal at a very low expense, for now anyway. Let's review what Anonymous said below:

Anonymous 6:35 said...

But how could politicians run on "getting tough on crime"? Where would all the money go that law enforcement has come to depend on for souped up vehicles to chase "evaders",super powered radios, SWAT teams, (HA!), and other toys? I mean crime fighting equipment! Come on, common sense is rarely used when it comes to spending our money-on anything, not just crime. Law Enforcement is big business with LOTS of employees. And I am one!

Every law enforcemnt officer needs to read the below incident. Below is an example of "Politicians getting tough on crime and where taxpayers hard earned money is going for fighting crime (NOT). The incident below is something that should have never happend. When I read this I was incensed to do something.

Hopfully we all in law enforcement will check SO's and listen to both sides before arresting and putting someone through what this Vet has and is going through.


This fall a Disabled Veteran was mistaken for drunk inside a restaurant/club in Round Rock Texas, in the fine county of Williamson. It was mis-perceived by management that the DAV had to much to drink because of the manner in which he walked. They did not understand he walked the way he did due to an explosion that blew him off a Bradly Fighting Vehicle while serving our country.

Within 5 to 10 minutes of entering the establishment in Round Rock the DAVet was told to take it easy on the drinks or he needed to take a taxi home. He briefly explained he just arrived, he was not intoxicated. Later when moving out of the way of an employee the DAVet lost his balance and fell backwards to the floor where the employee then fell forward on him. The DAVet helped the employee up and apologized. The DAVet then decided to leave because he spilled his beer on his clothes falling backwards and he was embarrassed and felt bad about being perceived as drunk.

The irony regarding this entire matter was this Disabled Veteran was mistaken for being drunk not disabled. He explained again to the manager and a security guard that he had a balance problem because of head and ear injuries he was not intoxicated. Even with that explained he was being forced to utilize a cab. When the DAVet explained again he did not need a cab neither seemed to want to listen to him. The DAVet refused the cab, entered his own vehicle with the cab following our Veteran to his vehicle. The cab pulled up to his front right vehicle corner and stopped. The DAVet turned to the left on an angle to clear the front of the cab. He continued on slowly about 20ft and began to turn right out the parking lot. At that moment the security guard came running up from behind opens the DAVet's driver door and pepper sprays the DAVet in the left ear and facial area. The DAVet becomes incapacitated and his vehicle continues right running into a stone column at the exit. The DAVet was parked 20 to 40feet from the exit and at least 60 to 80 yards from the building entrance where the security guard began his run to stop the DAVet from leaving the property.

After being pepper sprayed and hitting the stone column the DAVet exited his vehicle dazed from being slammed into the windshield. He stood there with the security guard looking at his damaged vehicle. The DAVet asked why the security guard did that/sprayed him etc. The security guard said I told you to take a cab. The DAVet then again explained to the security guard his medical condition and pointed to his DAV license plates. The security guards face turned white as snow. The DAVet then told the security guard he was going to sue him for what he did to him and the damage to his vehicle. The security guard then walked away and went inside. The DAVet asked him to call the police and a tow truck. About 10 minutes later the security guard came back with 5 others. The 5 confronted the DAVet by asking the DAVet what his problem was and why did he try to run down security. The DAVet said "what," and told them he was trying to leave and that person assaulted me with pepper spray. The DAVet then ask them who they were and that they had no business being involved. Then the manager came outside and called them all back. They all stood there talking looking and pointing at the DAVet and his ruin vehicle. The DAVet was by himself with no support.

The Round Rock police arrived. The security guard and his associates then fabricated and told the RRPD Officer a TALL TALE that the DAVet tried to run him or them over. The diligent RRPD Officer using all those expensive resources and walked over to the DAVet and spun and pushed the DAVet against his $35,000.00 car. He then hand-cuffed the DAVet and told him he was being arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. In shock the DAVet tried to explain to the RRPD Officer the truth but he refused to listen to the DAVet or his story because maybe his $3500.00 radio was on to loud. In fact the RRPD never wrote any comments made by the DAVet in the police report. The RRPD police report was all one sided for the suspended security guard. The RRPD Officers ($4500.00 Laptop) may have been down in order to write the DAV's side of the story. Later the DAVet learned from other law enforcemnt associates that RRPD Officers work part-time security at this establishment, to supplement their pay and re-energize themselves by getting "free ones."

Why some may ask, why would the security guard act this way or the RRPD.
1. The security guard realized after pepper spraying the DAVet and finally listening to the DAVet last explanation clearly, and standing straight, he knew he made a big mistake. Especially when the DAVet pointed to his DAV license plates.
2. The security guard knew he had a criminal history and was prohibited from working security in the state of Texas by statute.
3. The security guard has a criminal history similair to the actions above with other citizens.
4. The security guard realized he assaulted a DAV, not a drunk. OOOPs
5. The DAVet made the mistake of telling the security guard he was going to sue him for what he did to him for no legal reason. Blaming the DAVet for a crime was the security guards way of stopping that also.
6. The security guard had to come up with a way to cover-up what he did and his illegal suspended status to take the focus off himself away from further criminal trouble.
7. RRPD did not bother to check his DPS commissioning credetials as they are required to. Why?
8. RRPD would not give the DAVet a breath test after requesting to prove he was not intoxicated %. Why? (Cost to much?)
9. This was nothing but a real screw up. A suspended lying security guard and an incompetent RRPD police officer. Both are out there probably planning to have a great holiday. Our DAVet probably won't. Most his money went to pay bill's brought on by others foolishness and lack of integrity. Our DAVet continues to pay a for another high price due to his injuries brought by the ignorance of others in(Law Enforcement). Our DAVet is the true victim in this incident, he is not nor ever was the offender.

This security guard had been suspended twice this year and again on 08/01/2007 and indefinately. He decided to work security anyway and illegally. This is what happens when we are victimized by one sided law enforcement mentality and a wannabe renta a cop.

This piece of trash has ruined even more of a difficult life for our DAVet. He also did a hell of a job of deception and lying, inorder to protect himself for now, assisted by a foolish Round Rock Texas Police Officer.

Due to the actions against our DAVet he received additional injury to existing injuries, sent to the hospital for those injuries and suffering a vertigo attack cause by the incident. At the hospital he was medically treated but also treated like a criminal by the staff. Our DAVet then spent 18 hours of painful agony at Wilco jail where he got none of his daily require medications even after it was brought to Wilco for him. Then our DAVet was placed in front of a Magistrate where he was told he had a $20,000 Bond, with more Court to follow for an offense that was made up. He now has much more in legal expenses to pay, including a damaged vehicle costing $7030.00. Seems like a RRPD did their job well and used resources well also!

What is wrong with our CJ system when things like this happen. Was or is this a good use of resources. To allow Officers with so much incompentence to have such resources and power at their disposal is questionable. The City of Round Rock, Williamson County Texas and RRPD you should be embarrassed and ashamed. This Veteran was wounded losing his ability to walk properly. He comes to Round Rock Texas to shop and enjoy himself and your city. Instead he gets treated like he was a drunken nuisance because of his gait disability. He is then persecuted for it by being arrested for something made up and irrelevant to the initial issue of misperception of drunkeness. This Veteran/citizen had NO criminal history, NO history of violence and has NO vehicle or DPS violation history. Those concerned send your coments to the City of Round Rock, RRPD and Williamson County Officials.

B. Pearson, esq., and H. Cromhill
True Injustice

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a mess. Talk about doin somebody wrong.