Sunday, December 5, 2010

America’s Insurgency Campaign

When murder clearance rates were first documented in the early 1960's, about 90% of murders were solved. According to the latest FBI figures, just over 60% of murders were solved in 2007. Over that time period, the annual number of murders reported in the U.S. have increased from 4,566 to 14,811. - Shorstein & Lasnetski

Recently there was a story done by the newspaper in my city about how the number of unsolved homicides has increased to about 70% that means out of every 10 people murdered the local police solve about 3.5 of them. This is down from about an 80% closure rate in the 70’s. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t make me feel very safe. While there have been a number of reasons offered up for this frightening trend what strikes me as odd is that while the nature of the threat has changed how the police counter the threat has not.

I believe that there are two main reasons for the increase in unsolved homicides. The first is that despite changes in who commits homicides the police are still using the same methods for solving them. Because of our refusal as a nation to deal honestly and effectively with the “War on Drugs” many of the new homicides are drug related where there may not be a direct connection between the victim and the perpetrator. Continuing to use the same methods used when most homicides were committed by people who were connected to the victim to me seems counterproductive. What the police should be doing instead is developing more human intelligence resources inside these communities. This of course would require becoming connected to the communities they serve and getting out of the safe confines of their squad cars.

Because of how we are prosecuting the drug war we no longer do community policing. The idea of community policing has been replaced by the idea of having more police on the streets but in squad cars to cover more territory as a possible deterrent. The problem is that by using this technique the police never make contact or connections to the community because all they do is ride through the neighborhoods. What you see riding through a neighborhood is not the same things you see walking through a neighborhood and also you make personal connections to the residents who live in those communities. This squad car technique may work in some communities and should be continued where it is effective, but the truth is that for most of the urban areas it has been a disaster.

We should be placing small police substations in these neighborhoods to send a message to the community that the police share their concerns and are taking a stand with the community. By having these substations the police are saying to the community we have a presence and we will be here when you need us. This I believe will help to build relationships with the community that have been strained by the tactics of the drug war, which criminals have exploited and rightly so as a war against our community.

The second cause of this exploding number of unsolved homicides is the growing insurgency that is taking place in many of our urban areas by gangs of terrorists. I refer to it as an insurgency because many people in the community are harboring and abetting these criminals by not cooperating with the police. One of the main reasons we cannot repopulate our urban areas (not just with whites but also successful blacks) is the belief that not only will the community stand around and watch someone shoot, mug, or rob them but will also refuse to identify the people who did it. Few people are willing to put their families at risk under these conditions. The time has come for people living in these communities to take a stand and turn against this penitentiary mentality of no snitching. Reporting and helping to solve crimes is not snitching, it is what citizens in a free society do. The reason so many of our neighborhoods are in the condition they are in is because we allow them to be that way. We accept this penitentiary nonsense as if we were living in the penitentiary and not in a free society. By refusing to uphold our duty as citizens we not only allow murders, rapist, and robbers to walk free and continue to prey on us, but we also give them a feeling of invincibility and brazenness to do more heinous crimes.

With the increase of gang and drug related murders, murders have increasingly been committed by people who had no or little connection to the victim making it more difficult to solve...Another factor is that witnesses have become less likely to give statements to police and testify in court. In some communities, people are becoming very proactive in letting residents know that if they talk to the police about a crime, there would be serious repercussions. - Shorstein & Lasnetski

The solution to this phenomenon will be more difficult and require the same type of tactics we have been forced to use in other insurgency campaigns throughout the world. We must begin to attack the conditions that feed the insurgency. This means we have to create more employment, education, and training opportunities for the people living in these neighborhoods. We should also begin to change how we view and redevelop our urban areas. It makes no sense to me to believe that the people who moved out of these outdated and inefficient homes fifty years ago are now going to move back into them. We should be looking at ways to begin rebuilding entire neighborhoods. Just because something is old doesn’t mean it is valuable. We should be offering people incentives and homes that are comparable to those they are looking at in the suburbs. This cannot be accomplished one house at a time; we must be willing to do large scale rebuilding projects. If we do not then we are condemning these neighborhoods to always be what they are today.

Right now many of these neighborhoods are crime incubators where instead of raising productive and successful children they are raising the next generation of criminals. The work to turn this around will not be easy. We have become a photo-op society where we want to take the turkey or toy to the poor family and watch them smile and say thank you and then we go back to our safe neighborhoods and fine homes feeling good about our efforts. What we don’t think about is that someday the turkey will be eaten and the toy will be broken and that family will be right back in the position they were in. We are trying to defeat insurgencies abroad by nation building. Isn’t it about time we started doing some nation building at home? We should move beyond sustaining lives to changing lives.

“Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.” - Karl Marx

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