SkeuomorphicBee 2 months ago

> For example, in Kansas City a bus stop at a particular intersection was attracting drug sales and loitering. So the police called the local transportation authority and had the bus stop moved.

> “I think within a week, maybe not even that, that immediately cut down on the loitering and foot traffic,” Capt. Jonas Baughman told the local press.

As an outsider, I have no words for how absurd this is to me. The fact that "cut down on the loitering and foot traffic" is somehow presented as a good thing is beyond surreal and infuriating. It is really difficult to comprehend a free society where standing still in a public space is a crime, and where the priority of police is to make people walk less and not hang out in public spaces.

  • anigbrowl 2 months ago

    Also tough shit if you were used to catching the bus there and now have to find and probably walk farther to another stop.

    There used to be 'beat cops' whose job was to just walk around neighborhoods and be familiar with them; not the most efficient approach to policing, but also not the most intimidating or heavy-handed. Now you only see police outside a cruiser if they're doing crowd control, managing a crime scene, or doing community outreach, as a form of PR.

    • calvinmorrison 2 months ago

      Because humanizing your chattel is a poor idea. It leads to corruption, favoritism, and being soft on the law. Community policing is a great idea, except for enforcers who realized that having people from the same neighborhood enforcing violence on the population tended to leave those enforcers a little soft.

      • kqr 2 months ago

        I'm not entirely sure how high your sarcasm knob was turned up for this, but I'm choosing to interpret it as stuck on high.

      • 2fast4you 2 months ago

        Huh, maybe the violence is the problem. Maybe officers SHOULD be a little soft

        • calvinmorrison 2 months ago

          violence is the supreme authority from which all authority is derived

    • SantalBlush 2 months ago

      I only see law enforcement looking friendly on their Facebook page. In person, they are armed to the teeth and not to be spoken to.

  • sumy23 2 months ago

    It really depends on the specific situation. Public space is for everyone’s enjoyment. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of their right to the space in a way that detracts from everyone. Take a park for example. Typically, a great place to take your kids. However, if someone strung out on heroin loiters in the park, it suddenly becomes a much worse place for everyone else. Technically, being high on heroin in a public place isn’t a crime. This person is well within their rights to use the public space. But in many cases, people like this form a small minority that ruins the public space for everyone. Discouraging this type of person is actually maximizing the utility of public space.

    • thaumasiotes 2 months ago

      > Technically, being high on heroin in a public place isn’t a crime.

      That's hard to believe. If it's apparent to anyone else, it will be a crime in a few different ways. For example:

      > A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if, with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he or she:

      > (1) Engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior; [or]

      > (2) Makes unreasonable noise or offensively coarse utterance, gesture or display, or addresses abusive language to any person present

      ( , apparently a rule of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, but the crime exists everywhere with somewhat variable definitions.)

      • repiret 2 months ago

        Do you really think people stung out on heroin do so "with purpose to cause public inconvenience"?

        That said, chances are most jurisdictions have some variation of "dunk in public" that isn't as particular about the intoxicant. Even so, the criminal justice system hasn't proven itself to be an especially good solution to substance abusers.

        • thaumasiotes 2 months ago

          > Do you really think people st[r]ung out on heroin do so "with purpose to cause public inconvenience"?

          No, but as you'll note that is not an element of the crime. It suffices to act in a way that "recklessly creates a risk of public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm".

          • sumy23 2 months ago

            I wouldn’t say heroin addicts act with purpose to cause inconvenience. They do cause inconvenience, but that’s not the purpose of their actions.

            • thaumasiotes 2 months ago

              How is that a response to my comment? Why would it matter whether they have the purpose of causing inconvenience? It's not an element of the crime.

              • uoaei 2 months ago

                Because that's the language of the very statutes cited above.

                • thaumasiotes 2 months ago

                  Well, sure, if you can't read more than 14 words in one sitting. But for everyone capable of reading entire sentences at once.. no, that's not the language of the statute, you would have to be intentionally misreading it to make that statement.

                  • sumy23 2 months ago

                    Sorry, I’m not understanding what you’re seeing. The law says “purpose to cause” and then lists two things joined by an OR clause. But you’re arguing that the “purpose to cause” language is irrelevant. I don’t see that in my reading. Can you break it down for me?

                    • asveikau 2 months ago

                      If people here, in a place where many people write logic for a living, cannot parse simple logic out of a statue, imagine how a judge or a jury would do it.

                      I feel like often people in criminal justice do not understand meaning or intent of a statue and wing it, often slanting towards the side of punishing defendants. The law doesn't matter when your goal is to lock people up.

                      • sumy23 2 months ago

                        Maybe… however in the debate of this law, one side is saying “the law says you need purpose to cause” and the other side is saying “no it doesn’t. If you could read more than 14 words you would know that.”

                        I’m not a lawyer, but I imagine an objective observer would find the former argument more compelling than the latter.

                        • dragonwriter 2 months ago

                          > however in the debate of this law, one side is saying “the law says you need purpose to cause” and the other side is saying “no it doesn’t. If you could read more than 14 words you would know that.”

                          > I’m not a lawyer, but I imagine an objective observer would find the former argument more compelling than the latter

                          Now, I decided not spend more time and money on law school about half way through when I decided I’d rather stay in technology, but I don't see how anyone can argue with a straight face that the mental state requirement “with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm or recklessly creating a risk thereof” (emphasis added) fails to apply to people recklessly causing a risk of public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm just as much a to those acting with purpose to cause such inconvenience, annoyance, and alarm.

                        • thaumasiotes 2 months ago

                          > I’m not a lawyer, but I imagine an objective observer would find the former argument more compelling than the latter.

                          I like to think that an objective observer might read the statute before deciding which argument he thought was more compelling. Certainly a lawyer would.

                    • dragonwriter 2 months ago

                      > The law says “purpose to cause” and then lists two things joined by an OR clause.

                      No, you missed the other “or”

                      it says “with purpose to cause ... or recklessly creating the risk thereof” and then has the two things connected by the other “or” clause.

                      The argument is that voluntary use of heroin is recklessly creating the risk of public inconvenience, not that it is done with purpose to cause it.

                    • thaumasiotes 2 months ago

                      > you’re arguing that the “purpose to cause” language is irrelevant. I don’t see that in my reading.

                      Does it alarm you at all that the responses you're getting consist of (1) the suggestion that you're not able to read past the 14th word in a sentence, and (2) the observation "I don't see how anyone could say that with a straight face"?

                      > Can you break it down for me?

                      The statute is written very clearly on this point. It states two requirements for the offense to be committed; there is a state-of-mind requirement and an actual-conduct requirement. Both elements must be satisfied.

                      The actual-conduct requirement is satisfied by any one of three prongs (of which I quoted only the first two, because I didn't think there was a reasonable argument that public heroin use might satisfy the third). There appears to be very little dispute about its structure.

                      The state-of-mind requirement is satisfied by any one of two prongs. It states:

                      > A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if, with purpose to cause public inconvenience, [14] annoyance or alarm or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he or she...

                      For your convenience, I've marked the position following the 14th word in the sentence. Your argumentation so far has relied very heavily on pretending the words following that position do not exist. But they do.

                      Continuing from that point, we see that "public inconvenience" is not part of the necessary state of mind. Someone who intends to commit disorderly conduct may also do so with the purpose to cause public annoyance or public alarm. And more importantly, there is no intentionality requirement at all; the necessary state of mind is possessed by anyone "recklessly creating a risk of public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm". This prong is obviously satisfied by anyone who is high on heroin in public.

                      We can represent the structure of the statute very easily in Python-like pseudocode:

                         if ( defendant.intended_public_alarm()
                              defendant.recklessly_risked_public_alarm() )
                             defendant.actually_caused_public_alarm() ):
                           # the offense has been committed; check whether it's a
                           # violation or a misdemeanor
                      You're arguing that whenever intended_public_alarm returns False, the overall statement will also evaluate to False, which suggests a very alarming inability to understand Boolean logic. Or, of course, an inability to see words that occur after the 14th position in a sentence. But there is no good-faith reading of the statute that could be argued to support your view.

                      Do you seriously intend to argue that the state-of-mind element is meant to include these four categories?

                      1. People with the purpose to cause public inconvenience;

                      2. People with the purpose to cause public annoyance;

                      3. People with the purpose to cause public alarm;

                      4. People with the purpose to recklessly creating a risk of public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm.

                      And that, leaving aside the gross ungrammaticality of category 4, the four categories were strung together in parallel in a list with the structure "a, b or c or d"?

                • c22 2 months ago

                  I guess this is why people hire lawyers...

        • Brigand 2 months ago

          There is an OR in the statement, ie purpose is only one part of the condition.

    • asveikau 2 months ago

      I think a guy on heroin in a park could easily not be noticed. This exact scenario happens harmlessly in major cities. You're overestimating the danger of happening to be in the same park as that person.

      • lotsofpulp 2 months ago

        The needles they leave lying around are noticed and harmful.

        • asveikau 2 months ago

          Not every heroin user in a park leaves their needles behind, just as not every person who eats lunch in a park leaves litter behind.

          • MichaelZuo 2 months ago

            The standard practice on HN is to take the most charitable interpretation of the parent.

    • pshirshov 2 months ago

      > It really depends on the specific situation. Public space is for everyone’s enjoyment. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of their right to the space in a way that detracts from everyone. Take a park for example. Typically, a great place to take your kids. However, if someone $PROPERTY loiters in the park, it suddenly becomes a much worse place for everyone else. Technically, being $PROPERTY in a public place isn’t a crime. This person is well within their rights to use the public space. But in many cases, people like this form a small minority that ruins the public space for everyone. Discouraging this type of person is actually maximizing the utility of public space.

      PROPERTY={high on heroin | fat | ugly | gay | disabled | autistic | ... }

      • r3muxd 2 months ago

        Can you really compare being strung out on heroin with being ugly, though?

        • pshirshov 2 months ago

          Yeah, in my country of origin exactly this rhetoric is used against every minority, from gay people to disabled people. Yeah, they intentionally make places _inaccessible_ for disabled and push autistic children out of schools.

    • pgt 2 months ago

      By...removing the park?

      • sandworm101 2 months ago

        If you remove a vehicle lane then traffic is reduced. Pull up the sidewalks and loitering pedestrians disappear. Remove the parks and there will be fewer people sleeping in parks. Under-inclusive metrics generally lead to poor decisions.

        • uoaei 2 months ago

          Vehicles are the only things that use traffic lanes.

          Pedestrians are the only things that use sidewalks.

          Heroin addicts are not the only things that use parks, unless your neighborhood is very disjointed and sad.

    • uoaei 2 months ago

      I would really prefer to humanize those people and develop systems in place so they can find the help they need, rather than having sleeping in what is probably the safest possible place they have access to, from a personal safety standpoint.

      If it makes you feel better about your own society that society would rather hide its flaws from public view than actually solve them, find solace in the fact that the blight and detritus you identify would also be solved if those people were given the treatment they deserve.

  • rayiner 2 months ago

    I’m not squeamish about urban areas—I lived in downtown Baltimore, Wilmington Delaware, and Atlanta. But you’re missing some perspective. The captain is talking about gangs. The presence of gang members means that law abiding citizens are driven out of these public places. So the folks who are “loitering” typically aren’t up to anything good.

    I just met an Uber driver from Germany the other day. He lives in Georgia (the state) now and was talking about how he moved to this town to get away from the dangerous city nearby. He was happy that his kid could ride around on his bike like back home in his village in Germany. I remember thinking it odd because I had never heard a European talk like that. But I suspect they don’t “get it” until they actually live it.

    • claytongulick 2 months ago

      Hello from a former MD and Wilmington resident too :-)

      I moved to Texas in '05 to raise kids.

      I got tired of syringes in the playground, and constant threat and danger everywhere we went.

      With the tax savings and lower house prices, we were able to buy a great house near a lake, with good schools and a safe, walkable town.

      It was a huge leap for us, but one of the best choices I ever made.

      • rayiner 2 months ago

        I had been hoping for an upswing in those cities, but unfortunately it has regressed. We moved to Anne Arundel when our daughter started school. My job is tied to DC, but otherwise I’d probably move to Dallas.

    • vanviegen 2 months ago

      > I remember thinking it odd because I had never heard a European talk like that.

      What did you find odd about that? That a European doesn't want to live in a dangerous city?

      • rayiner 2 months ago

        Not that. But in my experience, Europeans I meet don’t usually talk about it, because European cities are generally very safe. So it’s not something that is top of mind for them.

        • vanviegen 2 months ago

          That makes sense, thanks!

    • loldk 2 months ago

      Here's a radical idea: invest in mental health, food security & education, and community programs to directly combat the source of the gangs and bad behavior, rather than try to control people's behavior.

      That is the distinction you've seemed to miss here.

      Controlling others' behavior is ineffective at best. It's treating symptoms with pain killers while ignoring the source of the problem. It's weak leadership, and, it gives broken people the ability to manipulate the system to hurt others.

      • rayiner 2 months ago

        We have been doing those things since the Great Society programs of the 1960s. After government transfers, real consumption of households at the bottom have gone up dramatically since the 1960s. Conversely, many much poorer countries that don’t have that sort of social spending don’t have gang problems like we do. Gangs aren’t an economic problem, they’re a social problem. Specifically, they’re a social problem caused by a vacuum in authority and hierarchy for young men. That’s why Wilmington has a gang problem and my dad’s vastly poorer village in Bangladesh doesn’t.

      • lotsofpulp 2 months ago

        It is not a radical idea. That type of massive wealth transfer is only possible on the federal level, where it simply has no political chance.

        All the non federal governments can do is like removing bus stops (or letting drug addicted communities flourish when the pendulum swings the other way).

        • banannaise 2 months ago

          Welp, we don't have the political capital, guess we can't fix anything, only thing left to do is beat the shit out of poor people in the streets. Society!

          • lotsofpulp 2 months ago

            The problem is lack of economic capital at the non federal level since there is no way to control immigration.

            The solution is canvassing, campaigning, voting, and running for federal office where that change can be affected.

      • MichaelZuo 2 months ago

        You've just written a lot of applause lights. What's a substantive proposal do you believe will have a realistic chance of being passed through Congress? If you can't think of one then it may not be as straightforward as you believe.

  • sandworm101 2 months ago

    >> loitering and foot traffic

    I laugh at how in this article that foot traffic is seen as a bad thing. HN has seen hundreds of threads opining on how we should get rid of car lanes and open up space for pedestrian traffic. But this article talks of pedestrians as a scourge to be eliminated. Cops in cop cars are out there keeping the sidewalks clear of people. How many pedestrians or mass transit riders, fearing police encounters, will op to travel instead by private car?

    • quantified 2 months ago

      More foot traffic likely lowers crime, too many non-criminals around and about.

  • superjan 2 months ago

    A great example of positive action was the story of the Oakland Buddha. Intended to discourage littering but in the end cleaned up the entire neighberhood.

    • antiterra 2 months ago

      2009-2014 sounds a lot like tech gentrification years for Oakland, no?

      • zemvpferreira 2 months ago

        As someone who briefly lived in Oakland around that time, both things can be true. It was (and might still be) pretty rough territory while it had us tech people all moved in. The Bhudda effect sure looked real to me.

  • nabilhat 2 months ago

    It's true - reducing foot traffic, social activity, and on-site jobs (transit drivers) is counterproductive to passive crime prevention. A persistent presence of crime-averse residents, professionals, and activities can inform effective response better than brute force law enforcement labor, often without police involvement.

  • newsclues 2 months ago

    Isn’t loitering and foot traffic code for drug dealers selling drugs illegally to their customers?

    • mwt 2 months ago

      Outside the context of crime: loitering, yes, foot traffic, not really. It's possible this particular phrase is a euphemism used in crime reporting, I don't know, but if it is I don't know why they wouldn't just say "officers no longer suspected dealers were using this place" / "informants/word on the street was that distribution moved to xyz ... "

      That sentence read strangely to me as well; I think foot traffic is great and my favorite places in America are built around promoting it.

      • newsclues 2 months ago

        I think it’s both a euphemism and perhaps it’s an area that no longer has regular foot traffic (closed businesses, vacant houses,etc) and the foot traffic was the clientele.

        I say this as someone who lives in a high crime area.

    • Hizonner 2 months ago

      That's how they want you to read it. They literally measure it by whether anybody goes to a place or stays in it. So if you make some part of your city into a place nobody wants to be in, then nobody will be there.

      And, sure, the people who aren't there won't be committing crimes there. They'll go commit their crimes somewhere else. Or I guess maybe they'll just sit at home until they shoot themselves...

    • AviationAtom 2 months ago

      It's generally people hanging out that don't have good intentions in mind, which might include drug transactions.

      • Gigachad 2 months ago

        I imagine since in the US, no one walks and there is nothing of interest outside, anyone who is out standing around is probably engaging in some criminal activity.

        What a sad society where this is the case.

        • newsclues 2 months ago

          It’s often in areas that had factories or businesses that are closed and there is nothing but vacant buildings lefts for the underworld and marginalized to live until the next development.

          • feet 2 months ago

            Might as well use the abandoned property instead of letting it go to waste

        • claytongulick 2 months ago

          That's a pretty broad brush you're painting one of the largest and most diverse countries in the world with.

          Certainly where I live, everyone walks, rides bikes, and spends a huge amount of time outside.

          > there is nothing of interest outside

          Whew. I don't even know where to start with this one.

          If this is how you perceive the United States, I think there's a huge opportunity for you to learn more about this country.

  • unethical_ban 2 months ago

    I thought that line was going to end with cops paying more attention to the corner. You know, doing their jobs.

O__________O 2 months ago

Topic reminds me of the book, A Burglar's Guide to the City:

Which started out as a blog:

Unlike the book, this city appears to think the solution to all their problems is to remove the architectures causing issues, instead of trying to make city planning and management choices that enable positive behavior; successful areas don’t have abandoned building, bus stops that function as distribution point for illegal drugs, etc. Police are the last profession that should be making choices like that for a city. Using this sort of thinking, what’s next, make warrentless, no knock searches legal and require every lock uses a masterkey the police have?

  • projektfu 2 months ago

    They usually don't have them because someone cares enough to keep the fire lit, usually people with a lot of free time. I have lived in successful areas that had an abandoned building with boarded up windows. Soon a local started pushing the city to get involved until it was finally condemned, as the owner didn't want to sell it to someone who would use it.

    I can see how poor areas, especially with lots of renters and slumlords, are going to be less proactive themselves.

    • kqr 2 months ago

      > Soon a local started pushing the city to get involved until it was finally condemned, as the owner didn't want to sell it to someone who would use it.

      I find it a bit sad that we have a political system that so strongly protects proprietors that they can choose to let a building fall into condemnation instead of just... let people use it.

      Why shouldn't people be allowed to just... move into and maintain a building, if it's otherwise not used?

      • diordiderot 2 months ago

        I like the idea of letting the city put delapidated buildings up for auction and mailing the owner a check.

  • littlestymaar 2 months ago

    > what’s next, make warrentless, no knock searches legal

    For 60% of the US population, this is already the case. Not by police, but border agents have been granted warrantless hone access by the supreme court this month:

    • O__________O 2 months ago

      Maybe next time you see random post on Twitter you should research it before sharing. In the case, ruling had to do with an assault and the right to sue, not warrantless entry; victim was an informant and reported a crime, law enforcement responded, which is completely legal, unless I am missing something; obviously assaulting someone is not.

      • enragedcacti 2 months ago

        > In the lawsuit against Egbert, Boule argued Egbert had retaliated against him in violation of his First Amendment rights and that he had entered his private property, refused to leave and pushed him to the ground violating his Fourth Amendment rights.

        As far as I understand it the decision does not contest that Boule's 4th amendment rights were violated, but it doesn't extend the right to sue a federal officer from "Bivens" to border patrol agents.

        So yes, while the case itself is not warrantless entry, the precedent extends to all fourth amendment rights and says that someone subjected to a warrantless search by border patrol has no recourse.

        • c22 2 months ago

          It actually seems to say that they have recourse through an established process with congress and that the courts decline to override this process. Apparently Boule availed himself of this process but was dissatisfied with the results (I guess because though it prompted an internal investigation of the agent it didn't result in any damages being awarded to him?)

          Basically it sounds like if you don't agree that border patrol agents should be allowed to conduct warrantless searches near the border for the sake of national security then you should contact your congressperson and voice your condemnation of the policy.

          • banannaise 2 months ago

            "availed himself of the process"

            Literally the ruling here is that the border patrol can't be sued because instead they will investigate themselves. Guess how that investigation tends to go?

            • c22 2 months ago

              Sure, it's a little fucked, but they're granted that power by congress, and congress is controlled by me and you!

        • O__________O 2 months ago

          You didn’t address that Boule reported a crime on his property and law enforcement respond, which is probably cause; that is no warrant was required and once law enforcement has it, they have the right to enter the property regardless if the property owner requests they don’t, which in this case was oddly also Boule.

          • enragedcacti 2 months ago

            take it up with the supreme court then I guess, you could let them know that they got their reasoning all wrong.

ipnon 2 months ago

Five Points was once the worst neighborhood in the United States. It was razed and replaced with Columbus Park. Now its a safe center of the community in Manhattan's Chinatown.

Gangs in Chicago were concentrated into a few high-rises owned by the public housing administration until the 1990s. The buildings were razed in an effort to curtail the rampant crime within them. The unintended consequence was that the once unified gangs were displaced throughout the broader Chicagoland area, and were able to grow immensely without the constraint of their former static, well-monitored domiciles. This effect of housing displacement leading to increases in both the frequency and geographic distribution in crime has been documented in other cities like Atlanta.

  • pessimizer 2 months ago

    > the once unified gangs were displaced throughout the broader Chicagoland area, and were able to grow immensely without the constraint of their former static, well-monitored domiciles.

    This is not what happened. Firstly, just to get this out of the way, this period in Chicago was a time of gang fragmentation, not growth or consolidation.

    There was a rise in violence associated with it, but that was because people who had been warehoused in the west side high rises moved to the south side, where there were already established gangs and relationships between them. This led to conflict in the same way that the New Orleans floods led to conflict in Houston, because New Orleans people were tough and Houston people were tough, so when New Orleans people were moved to Houston, things happened.

    Chicago is dangerous because it is an absurdly segregated city containing massive pockets of poverty with no public services, jobs or grocery stores, complete disinvestment from public schools, and a outsized fine and fee schedule. Upper-middle class whites in Chicago are paranoid about it for good reason, the same reason any wealthy person trying to have some bohemian city experience at the edges of a favela would be afraid.

  • jeffbee 2 months ago

    Surely you are not arguing that crime increased in frequency in Chicago (or any other American city) after 1990, because the statistics all indicate the opposite. Violent crime had fallen by half from 1990 rates by 2000, and now stands at less than 1/3rd the 1990 rate. Some fairly famous research indicates that homicide in Chicago is still highly concentrated, in real geographic distance and in social graph distance.

    • bombcar 2 months ago

      If there are ten thousand homeless people in a city confined to one area, and it is reduced to 5k but spread all over the city, the people will see it as an increase.

      • bilbo0s 2 months ago

        None of that makes jeffbee wrong.

        If I perceive something incorrectly. That's my problem.

        Not really jeffbee's. Who's only crime is stating facts.

        We have to temper emotional reactions to the statements of people who are fact driven.

        • pessimizer 2 months ago

          I've been firmly assured by people who spread information that is not true that perception is the real reality, and that people's concerns are more important than mere statistics. Turns out Glenn Beck-ism's final form is postmodernism.

    • bluedino 2 months ago

      "Violent crime" might be 1/3rd the 1990 rate but the number of murders are only about 100 lower than back then. The amount has really climbed up in the last decade.

      • zo1 2 months ago

        One thing we may not be seeing or considering in those facts: How much of that reduction umis due to people altering their own behavior. E.g. Not walking as much, or avoiding bad parts of town, moving to suburbs, expecting police to be tough on crime.

      • jeffbee 2 months ago

        This seems to give the murder rate even less connection to zoning decisions made in the 1980s.

  • hackernewds 2 months ago

    Which side of the argument are you espousing? the New York example seems to contradict the Chicagoan.

    it's funny the Chicago example seems to present the same case of why you shouldn't disturb a cockroach infestation that is centralized

    • bilbo0s 2 months ago

      To be fair, the same thing could also have happened in NYC.

      The poster only said that the razed areas were "better". They never said anything about, say, The Bronx being "better".

      I think the point they were making is largely irrelevant given the numerous differences between the two examples. Time. Commercial pressures. Etc. But they certainly seem similar in the manner that s/he describes.

    • ipnon 2 months ago

      I'm trying to imply (apparently without affect) that "broken windows" policing only works sometimes.

0xcde4c3db 2 months ago

Is it just my imagination, or does it seem like there's a weirdly quasi-commercial element around the push for "risk-based policing"? On one hand it's presented as simply being a scientific(-ish) approach that can be used to get better results than traditional methods, but on the other hand it's treated almost like a brand name, with a book titled "Risk-Based Policing" having an official website at, with the implication being that you're not really doing Risk-Based Policing [TM] unless you study the anointed materials.

  • thaeli 2 months ago

    It's Six Sigma for cops.

    • 0xcde4c3db 2 months ago

      I initially assumed that you were just joking, but after a bit more reading it seems like it almost literally is Six Sigma for cops (to the extent that it's actually the job of cops to reduce crime, which is debatable).

  • unethical_ban 2 months ago

    Consulting and training are money makers. Like the guys who teach officers they are wolves protecting the sheep, and to see all people as threats - you think they're doing that for free?

cloudsec9 2 months ago

This is just a rehash of an article (Linked inside the article several times!!) from 2020.[1] They claim MASSIVE reductions in crime during the run of this program, over the years 2019 - 2020. Hmmm, what else happened in 2020? Covid and lockdowns, but I'm sure that had zero effect on crime. (In fact the article mentions they had to put the program on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic). It doesn't appear that there is any new reporting in the posted piece, just a re-write of a 2 year old article. And there is no independent verification of claims, just police spokespeople and the Chamber of Commerce. For a data-driven project, that seems ... lacking scientifically.


V__ 2 months ago

> Overall, proactive enforcement activity — where police were affirmatively going out and making these stops and similar interventions — dropped by around 60 percent in these areas.

These are impressive numbers, but I wonder: Where did the crime go? Were most of these merely crimes of opportunity which got eliminated, or did some other areas see a spike instead?

  • projektfu 2 months ago

    David Kennedy, author of "Don't Shoot", was on the radio talking about his approach. He said by closing the open drug markets in the street the drugs have to be traded in people's houses and the other elements aren't attracted to the area. He then said something like "You know what we used to call the places where drugs are sold quietly inside people's houses? The suburbs."

    It's a really good book. Totally opened my mind that these problems are tractable so long as the typical dynamic of cops and clockers is put away in exchange for a focus on the community.

  • jl6 2 months ago

    I would guess that low-effort opportunistic crimes may have been prevented, but entrenched criminal enterprises will have just relocated.

ocdtrekkie 2 months ago

This is like solving homelessness by putting spikes on benches to keep people from sleeping there: It doesn't solve the problem, it just pushes it out of your jurisdiction.

  • wizofaus 2 months ago

    Maybe, but that's assuming criminals are no more likely to opt instead for going clean if circumstances change in such a way that committing crimes becomes less rewarding than it is for homeless people to "opt" for purchasing/renting a home if circumstances change that make sleeping rough less attractive.

    • tomxor 2 months ago

      Many criminals can't get a job just like many homeless can't afford rent (the sad thing is that the latter sometimes do have a job).

      How does it make sense to dissuade those people from doing something they don't have a choice in. As the parent said, it will only displace, it's as uninformed as shouting "get a job you lazy bum" at people.

      • wizofaus 2 months ago

        Some criminals, yes. But plenty just get mixed up with the wrong crowd or go through some rough patch that leads them into a period of criminal activity that has persisted even when better choices become available. And I'd always advocate for solutions that involved giving people better options in tandem with making life harder for criminals.

        • ocdtrekkie 2 months ago

          So like, if someone deals drugs and uses a bus stop as an exchange point, and the transportation authority moves the bus stop... is that going to cause people to give up their life of crime, or cause them to swap their meeting point?

          • wizofaus 2 months ago

            Any individual change like that might not have a significant impact, but as part of a range of reforms etc. it's not so hard to believe moving (or better monitoring of) bus stops and other similar public amenities could increase community safety (which may just mean criminals resort to interacting less with the public and more with other criminals, but that's still an improvement). And as part of that at least some criminals may see it as an opportunity to change directions in their lives. Do you have a better idea?

  • hinkley 2 months ago

    For certain classes of crime, pushing the criminals out also increases the crime rate.

    I recall reading about a study on this where pushing criminals out of a 'bad neighborhood' caused the crime rate in that area to drop, but the rate in two adjacent neighborhoods went up by 60% of the drop in the 'bad' one.

    • wizofaus 2 months ago

      That would be an argument against any attempt to clean up crime that wasn't done at a greater-city-wide scale. And maybe that really is true - the only genuinely effective measures you can take to reduce crime have to be applied to a sufficiently wide area. I'm not sure if we have enough data points to draw that conclusion though.

      • hinkley 2 months ago

        Could be. It may also be a factor of whether the high crime area is the first or the last occurence, since in the case of it being the first, you cause a diaspora. Whereas if it's the last, then you're squeezing.

  • LegitShady 2 months ago

    the spikes aren't there to solve homelessness, they're there to keep people from sleeping on the benches.

hbarka 2 months ago

I don’t know what the statistics are for stolen license plates but it seems to me, here in the San Francisco Bay Area anyway, that whenever there’s a recorded incident of a robbery or assault where the perpetrators used a getaway car, in all likelihood they put stolen plates on the car.

One way to fight crime in San Francisco and Oakland is to analyze cars crossing the toll plaza and use image recognition methods to match the car’s make and model to the license plate information. I bet data science techniques can easily reveal and discover patterns of criminal activity. Fighting crime by checking objects, not suspects.

  • jahewson 2 months ago

    It’s cute you think they haven’t been doing that for years. I live in the Bay Area and my city track every single vehicle that enters or exists the city limits.

    But why steal plates when you can steal the entire car?

    • hbarka 2 months ago

      Don’t give the public sector too much credit when it comes to using data. They don’t do analytics. It’s still eyeballs on a live monitor. That’s not data science. While they have tons of data, they have to pay for a company like Palantir. If they’re willing.

      Your anecdote about tracking for years, it’s street webcams from Fry’s Electronics using 640 x 480 video resolution. They’re starting to change it to 1080p. Meanwhile we Zoom using 2K and 4K cams. So tell me more about your city?

      Why steal at all?

RajT88 2 months ago

Community improvement should be the focus of policing efforts.

Not maximizing penalties.

Systemically, you are going to have better long term outcomes.

  • lupire 2 months ago

    > Community improvement should be the focus of policing efforts.

    Why drag police into this? The basic problem with policing is sending in strangers with guns to do social work. The PD isn't the only city agency.

    • RajT88 2 months ago

      To your point, yes police should have a smaller scope than they do.

jeffbee 2 months ago

I'm a believer in the idea that better places lead to less crime, but I hope these governments are taking a quantitative, evidence-based approach to the subject. The article mentions streetlights, which will come up almost inevitably in these conversations, but there's really no evidence for the idea that light lowers crime, and there's plenty of cases where bright lighting is associated with higher crime. Nobody can prove that is causal, but criminals do need light to see what they are doing, so it might be.

drewcoo 2 months ago

Hasn't "broken windows"[1] been debunked?

Isn't this that bunk?

This is pure cop-aganda garbage.


  • jimmygrapes 2 months ago

    I haven't read the original meta-analyses in full, but I often hear it parroted that "the broken window theory is debunked". Based on what I have read about this so-called debunking, I am far from convinced. Maybe I just don't understand the actual claims on either side.

    The way I understood the original idea is that when something is in a continuous state of disrepair, two things happen: the effort to repair it decreases, and more disrepair follows. A knock-on effect of disrepair is that the perception of value decreases, which can spiral into lowered socio-economic standing in that region... and AFAIK there's little argument about whether low socio-economic status is an important factor for potential criminal behavior (just argument about why and what specific behavior).

    I get the feeling the debunking of the theory is misinterpreted by many to mean "broken places don't cause broken people, if anything it's the other way around" which may in fact be true but is missing a lot of nuance.

  • lupire 2 months ago

    "broken windows policing" is when you claim to do the stuff in the article, but actually just harass residents.

citizenpaul 2 months ago

Isnt this just broken window theory from the 80's ?

  • voiper1 2 months ago

    It sounds like it has a large overlap, but not exactly the same.

    E.g. a liquor store isn't "run down and gives the atmosphere that crime is OK" but it's possible that more crime will happen there.

    • cloudsec9 2 months ago

      It's also possible that poverty causes people to "self medicate" with cheap alcohol, and that crime is endemic to areas where there is poverty.

      To me, this sounds like "broken windows" with more "data", but less attention to possible bias. And the fact that these "articles" present only points from the proponents and the police, and no real data or independent review, gives more credence to that theory, in my opinion.

logicalmonster 2 months ago

I believe that the reason that cops/media/politicians are talking about focusing on buildings is because any theories of crime or possible solutions to crime that can be perceived by anybody in a racial way are politically too sensitive to touch.

squarefoot 2 months ago

"This site is currently unavailable to visitors from the European Economic Area while we work to ensure your data is protected in accordance with applicable EU laws."

Translation: "We can't put an article online without cramming it with cookies, analytics and other annoyances that serve no other purpose than profiling users; we actually don't want to protect your data, but they caught us with the pants down and enacted laws to prevent all this, so we'd rather block access from the EU than do the right thing, that is, protecting your data by removing that junk."

  • LegitShady 2 months ago

    "all of our pages are full of things that the EU wants us to ask permission for. Since we only get a small amount of EU traffic, we can't be bothered to spend the money to deal with your laws, please go do something else. You are important to us - elsewhere."

  • Stevvo 2 months ago

    The headline is "Our European visitors are important to us." Clearly they are not. I most often see this on US local news sites.

  • pacarvalho 2 months ago

    It is a tricky thing. At some point someone needs to be paid for writing the article. I can think of 3 ways to accomplish that at the moment:

    1. Government subsidizes media. No cookies or profiling required. However, unclear if one government should support articles that are mostly read abroad and, of course, there are many issues with this related to equitable distribution of funds and impartiality.

    2. They can run ads. However, ads tend have better ROI when well targeted which requires profiling. For instance, if I am reading an article about suits. If they know my age they can make sure to show me people around my age wearing that suit. Which makes me more likely to envision myself wearing it and thus buy it. Cookies (or similar) required.

    3. A paywall where the reader pays for it directly. However, we seem to be very resistant to that idea given we were trained to use a "free" (sell your data model) internet. Nonetheless, by seeing your browsing history from your account server-side (no analytics cookies needed) they can place you in cohorts server side. So not that much more private. If anything, less private since they have your real data through your payment method.

    Ensuring privacy while still getting access to free things and not bankrupting companies (especially small ones) is a hard problem.

    • dqpb 2 months ago

      There is also the Spotify model, where a subscription gets you access to everything, and publishers get paid for what’s read.

      • phailhaus 2 months ago

        Spotify is one of a handful of music streaming products out there, and an absolute juggernaut that gives you access to basically all music and podcasts. By contrast, there are thousands of news sites, and subscribing to one of them only gives you access to their content. There is absolute no way "News Nation" is going to get enough dedicated subscribers to subsidize their reporting.

        • dqpb 2 months ago

          > There is absolute no way "News Nation" is going to get enough dedicated subscribers to subsidize their reporting.

          That’s exactly why there should be a Spotify for text.

          • j5155 2 months ago

            Are you describing Apple News plus?

            • dqpb 2 months ago

              Maybe, I haven’t used it. Is it good?

  • car_analogy 2 months ago

    > we'd rather block access from the EU than do the right thing, that is, protecting your data by removing that junk

    This phrasing is misleading. It's not "protecting our data" (implying they need to take extra precautions to prevent our data, defenseless on its own, from falling into the wrong hands).

    It's refraining from actively spying on us. There's no "protection" needed - if they just do nothing, that would comply with the GDPR.

  • baxtr 2 months ago

    Thanks to the EU, the internet is more balkanized than before.

    • TheCoelacanth 2 months ago

      Thanks to assholes who can't dream of not sucking up all the private data they can get their hands on, not thanks to the EU.

unwind 2 months ago

Meta: Geo-fenced. They can fight their failure at publishing information with less tracking (or whatever issue they have with EU privacy laws), so they can include us poor schmucks from Europe in their readership, in my opinion. It would be a great courtesy if articles like this were marked up somehow, to save me the click but I guess we're the minority.