Friday, July 20, 2012

Ramping up drug war wrong approach to East Austin crime

The Austin Statesman this morning published an op ed by yours truly on the failure of drug-war based crime fighting strategies in Central East Austin, arguing that arresting hundreds of people on drug charges hasn't worked to eliminate open air drug markets, has produced severe unintended consequences, and doesn't directly attack the types of crimes folks in the neighborhood are most concerned about. See related, recent Grits posts here and here.


Anonymous said...

You might not want to talk about what goes on in East Austin since you condone the corrupt culture there. The Catholic church was preachy and pious while turning a blind eye to and condoning the sexual abuse of children.

It's one thing to point out misbehavior of police and other officials. It another thing to piously do this while condoning or keeping quite about the treatment of young girls right in front of your nose. Like the Catholic church, we can say we don't know anything, but how long will that hold up?

Let's start with the number of pregnant 12 year old girls. Also, the fact that, in the land of gangs, a girl is raped by the entire gang in order to become a member. How many girls are slaves, yes slaves to a pimp--the cultural icon of his block? That's three--there's a hundred more.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

8:16, I live here, I'll say what I please. And what "corrupt culture" have I condoned?

Austin PD made more drug arrests last year in 78702 than any time in recent memory and the area neighborhood groups are still crying like scalded cats about rampant crime. But somehow I'm to blame because THEIR strategy has failed so miserably? Get a grip.

Anonymous said...

8:16, you're making Grits' point. How does arresting drug users help that 12 year old girl, except maybe to put her father behind bars where he can't protect her? When the cops are focused on all drug war all the time, they don't have time to investigate real crimes.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if half of those 158,000 Texas prison inmates hadn't committed a crime to begin with they could be at home helping their children. It's so easy to blame others when the answer is right in front of you.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

10:53, so children must pay for the sins of the fathers? How Old Testament of you.

It might make you feel better to identify someone to blame, but it doesn't solve anything. Children of incarcerated parents are still at grave risk of succumbing to criminality, and creating more of them through aggressive prosecution of the drug war - certainly in this neighborhood - has compounded the crime problem.

Prison Doc said...

So, Anonymous, what is that answer that is right in front of us? Genocide, maybe?

I don't actually blame the police--they became police so they could arrest people, and they are just doing what they like to do. No matter that it does no good. Arrest and incarcerate--it's so much fun!

Our lawmakers and budgeters--"Solons" some call them--need to change the template.

BarkGrowlBite said...

Grits, your far-left horseshit gets in the way of the truth. Austin PD is not concentrating on drug arrests. The narcotics units of the PD and Travis County SO are making those drug arrests. The rest of the officers in those agencies - and they are a far larger number than the narcs - are trying to fight the crimes that you say people are concerned about. But never having been a cop, you obviously have no idea of how difficult it is to solve burglaries when there is no evidence left behind by the crooks and where the victims often cannot tell the cops what was stolen or what the serial numbers of their stolen TV sets and computers are.

And like the rest of your ilk, you keep weeping and wailing for the drug violators that get busted and the consequences of those arrests. Let me remind you that if those dipshits weren't breaking the laws of our state and nation, they wouldn't end up behind bars.

Anonymous said...

Austin is over-policed, like most towns in Texas of any size. Too many police = too many arrests. Cops are great for violent crime and accident management, otherwise they just bug people minding their own business.

Unknown said...

Austin is over policed! Really that's the first time I have heard that one. Perhaps you should move to a community like Bandera where there is no police department at all.

I am one of the first to agree that we spend way to much money trying to enforce the drug laws. Times are hard and getting harder and money has to be budgeted and moved to other areas of greater social need. Of course legalizing all drugs is not the answer but, since continuing down the zero tolerance road has not worked at all common sense and compromise need to come into play. The drug laws need to be rewritten. To much money is being spent enforcing laws that are way to harsh. And it doesn't end there we can not afford to lock those people up either.

Phillip Baker said...

BarkGrowlBite, I have my own perspective on how things go n the East side. My son grew up in our middle class neighborhood on the West side. When own his own, he bought a house near Rogge and Manor. The shock of the difference in treatment from police stunned him. Back home, if I called APD I got a response usually in minutes. And was treated politely, respectfully. could wait for hours. Locals know that to get a fast response, mention somebody having a gun in your call. Bam, here they come. But polite? Respectful? Ha! NOT! I could spin those tales till the cows come home, but you get the point. Well, maybe not you, but others.

I'll keep saying this as long as it takes- the "war on drugs" has gone on for 50 years!!!. It has been an abysmal failure, yet still it is the sole approach of police and govt. And why, Van Gough, is taking another look at decriminalizing drugs not possible? The ONLY reason that drugs are such a lucrative business is because they are illegal. We clearly learned nothing for the fiasco of Prohibition. It does not work! A gram of pharmaceutically pure cocaine bought for legit medical use in surgery might cost $3. Illegally, what is it now? $100? $125? Fat profit margin.

But, van Gough, I totally agree- Austin is way over-policed. We have the highest paid cops in the state, but that has not gotten us real value for our dollars. Over-policed? You can't go a block without coming across a cop car! They're everywhere, yet still we have the crime rate we do, East Austin is still the sink hole of lives it has always been (though there are a few bright spots).

If it takes a budget crisis for Texas to finally take a long overdue hard look at failed policies and approaches, then fine. At least we need to take that look. Those billions of our tax dollars going down the drain of the "war" could give us far, far more bang for the buck than we are getting now. We should demand better.

RAS said...

I could list my objections to legalizing drugs but my relatives would get mad about my telling everyone that they are adicts; neglecting their children, unable to get/keep a job, bleeding everyone that loves them dry of money and of caring.

BarkGrowlBite said...

madGrits 10:53, one could interpret your remarks to mean that we should not incarcerate lawbreakers because then their children are likely to become criminals themselves.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

BGB, you always resort to angry name calling when your arguments are weak, and your comments here are no exception. Burglaries may be hard to solve but they could start by investigating more than 40% of them.

APD makes so many more narcotics arrests because that's their priority. It's a management decision to understaff crime-scene units, as well as to focus East Austin crimefighting the war on drugs. Sorry if pointing it out makes you angry.

BarkGrowlBite said...

Grits, I'm not angry. Apparently you get your exercise by jumping to conclusions.

Yes, I called you a far-leftie because that's what you are. Sorry if that hits a wrong note with you.

I doubt very seriously that APD's priority is making narcotics arrests. That's another one of your conclusions. It's not APD's fault that so many good citizens of 'San Francisco in Texas' chose to disregard the state and federal drug laws.

Anonymous said...

Tired of the current Police State? Believe the children must really pay for the sins of the fathers?

The American Worker's Constitution and Bill Of Rights Party believes in a wide range of both new and old ideas that will restore this nation to what our Forefathers intended it to be. The following are just a few of our plans once we hold the mandate of this country's electorate:

1) All immigration laws will be firmly adhered to. No longer will the republicans twist the laws to further their greed that the cheap labor of illegal immigrants provide, and no longer will the democrats be able to count on these illegal voters to keep them in power.
2) Abolish corporate personhood while implementing campaign finance reform to end the corrupting influence of money in politics, and outlaw completely any and all lobbyists.
3) Ending the failed drug policies that have pushed the nation into bankruptcy and treat substance abuse within a public health framework.
4) Repeal the PATRIOT Act
5) Repeal Obamacare and replace it with affordable universal health care through improved Medicare for everyone.
6) An end to the wars; reduction of the military budget and a redirection of this money to the domestic economy.
7) End the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and reinstituting the same exact tax rates that worked so well during the years 1945-1970.
8) End tax incentives for U.S. corporations to send jobs overseas and punish those that do with higher corporate tax rates.
9) Enact a financial transaction tax that will curb reckless speculation by Wall Street bankers and provide revenue for job creation, job training and education.
10) Punish those who have committed treason by their crimes against The Constitution and The Bill Of Rights. This to include the majority of current and former politicians at the state and national levels, and most all current and former judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement personnel at all levels. Punishment to be in the form of executions, then the imprisonment of their families in labor camps, and on chain gangs to help rebuild the nation's infrastructure, and the confiscation of their assets which will be used to pay the government debt for which they are solely responsible for. No longer will politicians, lobbyists, corporate heads, judges, prosecutors and cops be allowed to enjoy the fruits of their stolen plunder. They will face an accounting right along with their families. We are the true party of accountability, and no one will be granted immunity. Join with us today and play a part in America's future:

Anonymous said...

I do not understand how it has become culturally acceptable to so blatantly break the laws of this country. A portion of every dollar spent by a citizen on drugs goes to support the violence in our cities, in Mexico and around the globe. To try and make a case that the Austin Police or anyone else should stop attempting to enforce the law is absurd.

You should be providing mirrors for the violators. Tell them if they want to know why their children will be left in a world where they will most likely be criminals themselves, the reason can be fould by looking in the mirror. It is not APD or the DA or some socialite sitting at Brunch in the Capital. The reason for the proverty, the hopelessness can be seen in each and everyone of the mirrors you provide these BIG BOYS to look at.

Take yourself down to Beeville, Go to the Garcia Units and sit in the visitation room. Watch the wives and girlfriends bring "Daddy's Little Man" and Daughters to see him. Watch them try to talk to the person on the other side of the glass. Then get up and walk with them outside. Where do they go? Big man daddy who is a "VICTIM?" of the drug wars goes back to his bunk, while the moms and kids go back to a deadend life. Tell them to look in the mirror, there is the responsible person.......Law enforcement is NOT the problem. The Problem is the SOB in the mirror!

Anonymous said...

You can tell a lot by looking at advertisement. Criminals advertise. Whether standing out there in the open selling drugs or pimping the little girls, they are easy to notice. With their pants pulled down to expose their butt, they advertise. What is the message? "I dress in such a way that nobody would hire me, so look, I don't work. I get my money some other way." Also, they send a message, an attitude, by the way they dress.

But mainly they advertise when behind the wheel of their car. They burn the gas and cruise with the windows rolled down in all kinds of weather. Why? Advertisement. They blast us with loud messages celebrating all types of violence and criminality. It’s an auditory assault on those who don’t consent to hear this. By doing this they sign a confession, so to speak. They tell us what they think, what they value and what they do. We say they’re innocent. What do all these messages suggest?

RAS said...

You started off sounding pretty good then;WOW.

Anonymous said...

We all should know that now our
economy relies on the "drug business" - prisons, probation offices and employees, police officers, money in banks - sale of goods to cartel owners and drug dealers - employees of all these entities - and we continue to let
our young people be ruined by placing them in prisons versus rehabs. How about a halfway house with stricter regulations for drug and alcohol offenders. What earthly good does prison do without rehab?

Legalization of drugs and true
control by the government would
indeed throw our country into
bankruptcy. We could wean ourselves out of the situation however. In 2013 increases in taxes will be required. Get ready for it.

Joe Evan had Mr. Morton on his program recently - he made an intersting statement - "he felt as though he were in a subculture" - and that attorneys were there to guide him through his problems.
The attorneys did a good job - somehow there was a problem with
evidence and looking with an open mind to all possible offenders -
the saddest part of this story is
the destruction of many years of
a relationship between a father and son.

Somewhere we are failing or we are
being manipulated. Frightening to think how many others may be or may have been in a similar situation without anyone to believe in them or continue to carry the banner in their defense.