Friday, November 28, 2014

Turning on the cops: Forgetting what crime was like

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Turning on the cops: Forgetting what crime was like | New York Post:
"As jaws flap nationwide and tongues cluck disapprovingly in the wake of the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, consider this savage irony:
Due to the heroic actions of America’s police officers and police departments over the past two decades, we are now free to have a national debate about the supposedly problematic behavior of America’s police officers and police departments.
That debate doesn’t just involve minorities.
The revolution in policing that swept through the nation in the early 1990s has changed American life so profoundly we can barely remember what it was like in the years when crime was the central domestic preoccupation of the United States.
Consider this: Nearly 100 million people in this country were born after the national crime drop began in 1994.
That means 100 million people think the way we live now is the natural state of things. 
Most of the rest of us have come to accept it as the “new normal” as well.
This has happened several times in our history. As the late sociologist Eric Monkkonen wrote in his seminal 2001 study, “Murder in New York City,” Americans have often responded to an era of relative calm by deciding that the authorities have been too restrictive and cruel — resulting in a subsequent period in which greater laxity led to higher rates of crime.
Americans today have either never known or have forgotten that that for decades, it was the working theory of police departments that their job was to respond to crimes after they occurred rather than to prevent crime from happening in the first place.....
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