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High Crime Residents Want More Cops

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High Crime Residents Want More Cops

A majority of fragile-community residents (54%) say they would like the police to spend more time in their community, while just 5% say they would like the police to spend less time there.

As to moving, three-fourths cite crime as a major reason (51%) or minor reason (25%) for wanting to do so.

But it’s clear that community members in distressed communities want more police officers and inherently, a return to proactive enforcement.

Fragile Community Members Want Cops Back

Increasing violent crime in most American cities. Community members surrounding cops while taunting and filming them with smartphones during arrests. Endless media reports stating that retaining and recruiting police officers is more difficult than ever. Assaults on officers increasing. Families telling loved ones to get out of policing, and to get out now. Cops holding back from proactive policing when there is data from the US Department of Justice stating that aggressive enforcement lowers crime, Crime in America-Policing.

All the above is predicated on the perception that high crime community members dislike and distrust cops, thus prompting officers to question their willingness to risk their safety for those perceived as unsupportive. There may be justifiable reasons for community apprehension or a lack of cooperation, but it’s not serving anyone’s best interests.

But is it true? Do members of high crime communities dislike cops? Do they want them to return to proactive policing? A variety of sources suggest that it’s time for a reevaluation.

Bring Back The Cops

I wrote “Community Leader-Bring Back The Cops,” Law Enforcement Today, telling the story of a minister in Baltimore via National Public Radio.

Some residents attribute the high murder rate to relaxed police patrols in the city following high-profile cases of police brutality. Officers have backed off in neighborhoods, like the one where Freddie Gray was arrested.

The Rev. Kinji Scott, a pastor in Baltimore who’s held positions in local city government, says the opposite needs to happen.

“We wanted the police there,” Scott says. “We wanted them engaged in the community. We didn’t want them beating the hell out of us, we didn’t want that.”

He’s among activists who are calling for police reform to reduce the violence in Baltimore and several other high-crime cities across the U.S. that he says haven’t seen change.

“We need the front line police officers and we need the heart of the black community to step to the forefront of this discussion,” he says. “And that’s when we’re going to see a decrease in crime.”

On whether the community wanted police to back off after the death of Freddie Gray

No. That represented our progressives, our activists, our liberal journalists, our politicians, but it did not represent the overall community.

On whether the high murder rate is unique to Baltimore

It’s not. I lost my brother in St. Louis in 2004; just lost my cousin in Chicago. No it’s not unique, and that’s the horrible thing.

NPR

Gallup (lightly edited for brevity)

Job shortages, inadequate access to higher education, health problems and high crime rates are the most common obstacles that fragile-community residents in the U.S. face in achieving the American dream.

These are among some of the key findings from the inaugural The State of Opportunity in America report from Gallup, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO), the Charles Koch Foundation and Koch Industries.

The report is based on in-depth focus groups and a representative survey of 6,230 Americans living in fragile communities — defined as areas with high proportions of residents who struggle financially in their daily lives and have limited opportunities for social mobility. The study includes the following findings:

Majority of High Crime Residents Want More Cops

A majority of fragile-community residents (54%) say they would like the police to spend more time in their community, while just 5% say they would like the police to spend less time there.

Residents’ responses regarding the police presence in their area are related to their confidence that they will not be treated unfairly when they interact with law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

Almost one-fourth (23%) believe people like them are treated “unfairly” or “very unfairly” by their local police, and 32% feel this way about the courts and legal system.

Among black residents, these figures rise to 35% and 47%, respectively

The majority of fragile-community residents (59%) say they would like to relocate permanently given the opportunity.

Among this group, three-fourths cite crime as a major reason (51%) or minor reason (25%) for wanting to do so.

Gallup

Conclusions

Many cops and residents feel offended. Everyone’s mistrustful. I understand that. But it’s clear that proactive policing reduces crime, Law Enforcement Today.

It’s also obvious that distressed community members need the police to be a major ingredient as to a solution. If one-fourth (23%) believe people like them are treated “unfairly” or “very unfairly” by their local police, the majority of distressed community residents feel otherwise.

I and other writers have offered solutions as to how to bridge the gap between officers and residents and it will require a tremendous amount of patience on both sides, see Crime in America.

But it’s clear that community members in distressed communities want more police officers and inherently, a return to proactive enforcement.

Maybe it’s time to acknowledge that high crime community members want cops back. Maybe it’s time to understand that communities can’t survive or thrive without proactive cops.

Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr.- Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Masters’ Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins University.

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Author
Leonard Sipes

Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. - Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Masters’ Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins University.

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