Tag Archives: crime

The Knockout Game

HeadThis is really scary!  No, not getting punched by some kids.  It’s really scary that we can’t get a straight answer out of our news media.  Some news outlets report a new trend of random violence, and others say it’s an urban legend.  Come on, people.  It’s not the Kennedy assassination.

You have seen the videos.  Numbers are sketchy.  We found one source for eight incidents of “knock out the Jew” in New York, over the last month.  We found another source for six incidents in one month in New Haven.  Other headlines say it’s a myth, but read on and they acknowledge the events.  They only claim that, since there is already a lot of random violence, these new attacks aren’t news.

But CNN says violent crime is on the wane.  That’s the real myth.  Jeremiah debunked it here.  He is sick and tired of politically motivated news outlets trying to tart up, play down, and spin every goddamn story.  What if it really mattered?

What if there were civil unrest, or an epidemic, or a crime spree – and you got this kind of bullshit from the TV news.  You’d have one channel telling you to hide in the basement, and another saying “keep calm and go shopping.”

We are going back to our old standby, that paragon of journalism, Pravda.

See also:  Fight Media Bias

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Anecdotal Evidence

Jeremiah says it’s mayhem in America, but the official statistics say otherwise.  So, whom to believe?  Well, if you believe the official figures, then crime is down, jobs are up, and inflation is flat.  LOL.  This is not to impugn the official sources, but they do suffer from scope, scale, timing, and definition problems.  Sometimes, the best evidence is what you can see for yourself.

Nobody knew how many … every quarter astronomical numbers of boots were produced on paper, while half the population went barefoot.

For example, if you want to know about inflation, look at the tape from your grocery store.  Is your paycheck not buying what it used to?  That’s inflation.

The official figure, “core” CPI, omits food and gasoline because the prices are too volatile.  Apparently, the BLS can’t calculate a moving average, so they omit the very prices that matter to you.  They also allow for “substitution,” which says not to worry about the rising price of beef – as long as you can eat pork.

Likewise, the best measure of unemployment is the number of friends and relatives who are out of work.  The official  figure, also from the BLS, is regularly recast – yes, for political reasons.  No one takes the headline figure seriously.  You have to look at the U6 measure and the participation rate – or visit John Williams, and praise Allah that someone is still keeping decent records.

This brings us to the crime statistics.  Jeremiah is certain that crime is going up in his neighborhood, but what about those national figures?  Below is the chart from the BJS Criminal Victimization Survey.

Crime1These people do a nice job, especially given the sensitive topic.  The survey makes good use of stat sampling and confidence intervals.  This chart, though, has a scaling issue.  The epic decline from 1993 to 2003 masks changes in the more recent period – to wit, a serious uptick in the last year.

Below is the same data, looking only at the last ten years.  The units are victims of violence per thousand, so it accounts for population growth.  The uptick from 19.3 to 22.5 may not sound like much, but it’s over 16% and it more than reverses the prior year’s decline.

Crime Rate

Since this is the 2011 survey, reported October 2012, the rate could easily be above 25 right now.  In case you’re wondering what genius policy reduced crime during the Clinton administration, we still like Steven Levitt’s analysis. He does a nice job of debunking the partisan explanations, and he puts the data into a generational context.

Lest anyone be too glib about the fall in crime since 1990, Levitt goes farther back – showing that we are still above historical norms.

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Vote for Squalor!

In our neighborhood, there is a family owned grocery store with a mural painted on one of the exterior walls.  Probably someone in the family painted it.  It is not polished, but it is cheerful.  It brightens up the block – or did, until someone spray painted graffiti all over it.  This is how we “vote” to live in a ghetto.

The kids make it impossible to have nice things.  They spray paint and break windows.  They foul the public restrooms.  Jeremiah is pretty sure that kids aren’t driving in from the suburbs to vandalize our neighborhood.  These are our own kids, trashing their own home.

Over in San Jose, some nitwit shot up the power plant.  That’s Silicon Valley.  All the high-tech companies have to wonder if they’ll have power to run their computers.  Maybe they’ll start moving their operations to another state.  That’s voting again.  Hey!  We don’t want jobs here!  Go away!

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Drug Market Intervention

Congratulations to the community of Newport News, their police, and a new strategy from criminologist David Kennedy.  Drug-war tactics have pitted police against the community, often in a racial context.  As The Economist puts it,

Police come to be seen as people who take sons, brothers and fathers away while the neighbourhood remains unchanged.

This new approach targets the retail drug trade directly, removing the money and the corruption it brings into our communities.  Working together, we can break the cycle of violence caused by drugs, gangs, and desperation.

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R.I.P. Derrion Albert

The brutal murder of a young honor student in Chicago recalls the death of another honor student, Yusef Johnson, killed last April in Newark.  It is easy to see that inner-city toughs resent the good kids and single them out for violence.  Derrion was lynched because he dared to excel, and his killers should swing for “hate crime” just like Nazis or skinheads.

Families will never lift themselves out of poverty until these neighborhoods are made safe for kids like Derrion.  The violence perpetuates itself, forcing each new generation into the gangs – and then into prison, where they become a burden for all of us.  As Yusef Johnson’s football coach put it, “these kids want things, and they want them now because they don’t think they’re going to have longevity.”

Violence is a problem only the community can fix.  In Newark, there was coordinated action by the schools, the churches, community leaders, and the police.  This is the most urgent problem facing black society today, and this is where race-based organizations like the NAACP need to be spending their efforts.

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