Monday, January 01, 2007

Murder Up

Crime and schools.

We can have the best in luxury living, the finest restaurants and the most intriguing arts around. But as long as our streets are dangeous and our schools failing, not enough people are going to consider making Baltimore their home.

That's why 2007 was another disappoinment for those of us hoping the muder numbers would continue the downward crawl of earlier this decade. Instead, we had more murders this year than last; 274 compared with 269 in 2005, according to preliminary statistics.

In his excellent piece, Baltimore Sun crime reporter Gus Sentementes (a former Charles Villager) reviews the stats to paint a portrait of those who die violent deaths on the streets of Baltimore. They are typically young, black males with priors who remain the drug game.

Petty crime will always be with us. There are no dense urban areas where owners can rest absolutely assured that their car window won't be smashed or their newspaper is safe on the front steps. People who want to live city lives - that is, sustainable lives in real communities close to ammenities, jobs and the arts - can make do with a couple of nuisances.

But the murder rate is what gives Baltimore our bad image and keeps newcomers from moving in. We must embrace a new strategy to get our fatal attacks down.

Note: most murders are the result of drug activity. Drug activity remains dangerous because it is illegal and thus forced underground to be carried out by criminals. Take the crime out of the drugs and you take the criminals out of the drug game. Take the criminals and their accompanying violence out of the drug game and Baltimore becomes a much safer place to live.

Prognosis for political leaders forward-looking enough to make it happen: you're kidding, right?

from The League: Reassembled

On a happier note: Happy New Year to all those who write and read Free State Politics! And even to a few who don't!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, any "new strategy" has to come from the federal level down. Our draconian drug laws are so well entrenched these days that even the most tame revisions or reforms appear radical.

It has little to do with being forward-looking. It has more to do with too many politicians looking forward to long political careers. For many in Washington (where drug policy reform would really make an impact) any talk of such reform would be a political death sentence.

To make a painful Iraq war analogy, we will continue to see the casualties pile up in this un-winnable war. Meanwhile, any talk of a new strategy is considered re-treat or abandoning those in need, when in fact the exact opposite is true. Maybe we need a DWST (Drug War Study Group) to tell the public what we already know?

One thing is for sure, escalation isn't the answer, but its all that the folks in charge seem to be talking about.

1/02/2007 04:13:00 PM  

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