Archive for the ·

Washington D.C.

· Category...

Varieties of Self-Pity and Murder: Aaron Alexis and The New York Times

5 comments

Little is known about the twelve victims brutally murdered by Aaron Alexis, but the New York Times, in a banner article, wants you to know that their killer had an “interest in Thai culture.”

Well.  That gives him a softer profile, doesn’t it?  Buddhism, Thai language skills, plus dubious claims about oppression by the police, society, white folks, his neighbors, PTSD, his employment contract, the construction guys parking outside his house, 9/11, and so on, equals victimization lottery for Mr. Alexis.

Delicate embroidery of this monster’s alleged inner conflicts equals gross disrespect for the humanity of his victims.

But . . . he was interested in Thai culture.

Yeah, whatever.

The impulse to humanize some (not all) stone-cold killers is yet another force tearing us apart beneath the pulsing throb of identity politics.  This loser killed twelve innocent people, but in the New York Times he has been vetted and given security clearance for a high-level empathy assignment based undoubtedly on his race, his hobbies, and the particular insinuations of persecution being made in the wake of his bloodbath by people who somehow managed to do nothing all those other times he used a gun to express his inside screamies.

Take his roommates, for example.  They ought to trashcan their Rebel Without A Cause blather about the sensitivities of their mass-murdering “best friend.”  But instead, they’re in the Fort Worth Star Telegram pleading for understanding about how the Alexis they knew felt sad if he couldn’t chip in for the utilities while he spent his time learning the right kind of foreign languages and appreciating their food culture.  The roomies are more circumspect about that gun incident in 2010, when he shot through the floor of his (their?) neighbor’s apartment (missing the woman by mere feet) because he imagined she was being too loud.  Then, he lied to the police about it.

Why didn’t he serve time for that?  Because we live in a police state where everyone in prison has been wrongly convicted, so a neutered justice system decided not to prosecute the Thai-speaking pseudo-traumatized Mr. Alexis, perhaps.

The same result came of Alexis’ 2004 attack when he shot out the tires of a car driven by construction workers whom he also suspected of “disrespecting” him.  How many times, precisely, do you have to unload a gun in the direction of total strangers without suffering consequences for it?

The “media debate” about Aaron Alexis’ twelve murders has already been slotted firmly into the usual categories: we need more gun control from the Left; we need fewer restrictions on guns so people can defend themselves from the Right.  While I side with the fewer restrictions camp, I wish people on all sides would bother to add the caveat: crimes committed with guns must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  Guns don’t kill people: people kill people, and especially, un-convicted recidivists kill people.  Enforcing the law without leniency appears to be the one thing that was not tried.

Slapping this bastard in prison for shooting out his imaginary nemeses’ car tires in Seattle, or for shooting into his neighbor’s apartment in Fort Worth might have shaken him loose of his malaise of self pity — or maybe not — but at least it’s hard to go on a shooting spree from behind bars, and it’s hard to buy weapons when you have weapons convictions.

Why demand more gun control laws when you won’t enforce the ones you have because that might result in people you feel empathy towards serving time?  Why demand unlimited rights to bear arms legally if you won’t defend the law when guns are used illegally?

At different times, Aaron Alexis told police that he had fired a gun in a “black-out . . . fueled by anger”; that he had fired a gun because he had been through 9/11; that he had fired a gun because he had been “disrespected,” and that he didn’t mean to fire a gun at the neighbor he had threatened repeatedly, but his hands were slippery and it went off.

This is what happens when laws are not enforced.  In Seattle, the construction workers whose car tires were shot out by Alexis were curiously unwilling to press charges.  They didn’t respond to police requests and avoided police contact.  Why?  Probably they were here illegally.  When people won’t participate in the system because they’re also criminals, what’s left is anarchy.

And why anyone would defend anarchy while demanding more gun control laws is beyond me.

Meanwhile, the New York Times also wants you to know that Aaron Alexis was himself very extremely diverse.  As if afflicted with verbal incontinence, the Times can’t stop talking about the killer’s diversity or his taste in ethnic food.  Maybe the only people left in the newsroom are so marinated in this blather that they are incapable of writing anything else.  Diversity is the spoon of sugar that makes the banality of evil go down:

Mr. Alexis was born in Queens in 1979 and was representative of the borough’s diversity. He was African-American, grew up in a part of Queens that was home to South Asians, Hispanics and Orthodox Jews, and embraced all things Thai while living in Fort Worth. He worked as a waiter at a Thai restaurant, studied the language and regularly chanted and meditated at Buddhist temples.

What is this, a singles ad?  The bastard killed twelve people.  I don’t care what he ordered at lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Soros: Funding the Pro-Criminal, Anti-Cop Lobby

no comments

Last week I spoke at a conference about George Soros, organized by Cliff Kincaid of America’s Survival.

Interviews with me and the other speakers appear here:

“Soros Files” Videos

I’m also working on a project detailing Soros’ top grantees and what they do with their money.  What does this have to do with crime?  Soros subsidizes virtually every pro-criminal, anti-victim, anti-police action in this country, whether in the courts, the halls of government, or on the streets.  I’ll be writing more about this in weeks to come.  Meanwhile, you can see profiles of his top 25 grantees at the Soros Files Website.

There’s also more about the conference at Grand Old Partisan and New Zeal Blog.

One of the other speakers at the conference was Larry Grathwohl, who risked his life by infiltrating the Weather Underground and working undercover as an informant for the FBI when the Underground was busy carrying out murderous attacks on police and soldiers.  I remember reading Larry’s book about the Weather Underground when I was in high school, at a time when terrorists like Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers were still revered as heroes in the lefty circles in upstate New York where I lived.

Now they’re just revered as heroes at places like Northwestern University, where Dohrn is a professor of law working to cripple our already-hobbled criminal justice system by imposing international “human rights” protocols on our courts.

That sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  I wish it were.

Professor Dohrn, not quite yet sipping eggnog at the Northwestern Law X-mas Party

Larry Grathwohl, infiltrated the Weather Underground before they permanently “Occupied” Academia

Copies of Grathwohl’s book (written in 1976) are still bouncing around on the internet.  He says he’s putting out a new edition soon — I hope so.  Meanwhile, you can find a used copy on Amazon — but there’s literally just a few left.

Another speaker at the conference was Trevor Loudon, who runs the extraordinary KeyWiki site:

KeyWiki is a bipartisan knowledge base focusing primarily on corruption and the covert side of politics in the United States and globally. While particular interest is taken in the left, KeyWiki serves to expose covert politics on both the left and the right of the political spectrum.

Loudon lives in New Zealand, but he knows more about state level-elected officials in America than anyone I’ve met.  Go figure.  Check your own state legislators in the KeyWiki database — you might be surprised.  Loudon is in the U.S. promoting his new book which documents Obama’s political and personal ties to radicals, communists and Marxists who openly seek to overthrow the American government: it’s called Barack Obama and the Enemies Within.  Even ardent Obama supporters ought to be willing to give the evidence a fair hearing.

I was standing next to Larry Grathwohl outside the White House last week, after visiting the (sad, creepy, and malodorous) Occupy D.C., and it dawned on me that Larry’s book was probably the only negative accounting of the Weather Underground that had crossed my path until 2001, when Bill Ayers put his foot in the hornet’s nest with a stunningly offensive interview bemoaning the fact that he “didn’t do more” — didn’t set off more bombs and kill more people . . . an interview that was published in the New York Times on the morning of 9/11 and therefore perhaps the supremely ironic final read of some who perished in the Twin Towers that day.

One person — one book — telling the truth can still change history.

Rapists, Child Molesters Treated With Most Lenience: Washington Examiner

no comments

Why does it seem like the people who commit the most heinous sex crimes are the ones getting multiple breaks from the courts?  Apparently, I’m not the only person wondering.  I certainly hope the Washington Examiner doesn’t mind that I’m copying their article in its entirety.  It’s so staggeringly rare to find stories outside the “Hooray, We’re Emptying the Prisons” media drumbeat these days:

Freed criminals prey on public

By: Scott McCabe
Examiner Staff Writer
March 21, 2010

From left: Darryl Hazel, Robert Joseph Williams and Virgilio Nunez

Cops hunt felons turned loose by system

A high percentage of the top fugitives sought by U.S. marshals in the region had been in the hands of authorities only to slip away through cracks in the legal system or questionable judicial decisions.
Of the criminals designated “Most Wanted” by the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, more than 70 percent had been released from custody for various reasons, requiring marshals’ deputies to track them down again.

Imagine the cost of tracking these felons down, not once, but twice, and sometimes more than that.

Some presented a clear danger to area residents:

» Two-time convicted killer Darryl Hazel was two months out of prison when he was arrested on drug charges, released on his own recognizance and went into hiding.

» After Virgilio Nunez was charged with 15 counts of child sex abuse involving multiple children, the El Salvador native was allowed to post $10,000 bail. He remains on the loose, authorities said.

» Robert Joseph Williams was out on supervised parole after serving 20 years of a 35-year prison sentence for raping his adoptive mother. He was put on supervised probation. But during that time he was charged again with drug distribution. He violated the conditions of his probation and disappeared.

» D.C. Jail inmate William Brice, awaiting trial in a near-fatal shooting, was allowed to be released into the custody of his defense attorney and attend his father’s funeral. The inmate fled the funeral, his lawyer failed to notify the court and Brice has the been on the run for more than two years.

William Chambliss, a criminologist at American University, said the biggest mistake when talking about the law or the courts is to think the system is rational, organized and precisely managed.

“It’s fundamentally flawed,” Chamblis said. “It’s impossible to create a large bureaucracy that is not going to make a lot of stupid mistakes.”

Hazel, 33, already had two murder convictions under his belt when he was re-arrested in D.C. for misdemeanor marijuana and heroin charges last year. At age 15 he pleaded to the shotgun death of a Capitol Hills store clerk. At age 22, Hazel killed again, this time in Northern Virginia. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in federal court, served eight years hard time and was placed on probation.

So this guy killed two people.  He served something less than 15 years for two murders.  The D.C. court simply decided to stop monitoring him, and once they got around to picking him up again, he’d been involved in another shooting:

According to records, after his drug arrest, D.C. court officials attempted to call Hazel’s probation officer but the officer had been transferred and the replacement was unavailable. Five days later, the U.S. Attorney’s Office withdrew its request to keep him behind bars.

Hazel was set free and told to return to court in four weeks. He didn’t.

Seven months later, on the day he was featured as a Most Wanted fugitive in The Examiner, U.S. marshals said they got a tip from a reader who reported that Hazel was living under the name of a dead relative. Marshals arrested him.

During their investigation, detectives discovered that Hazel was involved in a shooting three months earlier while using his alias. Hazel has not been charged in connection with the shooting.

Hey, why bother charging him?  It’s just his third known violent crime.  And the other two were just murders.  Yet what you read in virtually every newspaper, day after day, is overstimulated, breathless reporting on “alternative sentencing,” emptying the prisons, and the newest pro-offender cash-cow, “prisoner re-entry.”

None of these initiatives, they tell, us, will apply to violent offenders, of course.

They’re lying:

The most lenient cases, said one Maryland prosecutor, seem to fall on people accused of sex, child abuse or domestic violence crimes, especially if the supsect “doesn’t look like central casting with the knuckles dragging to the floor.” One violent sex offender had to be picked up three times for violating his parole.

Virgilio Nunez, 44, was indicted on 15 counts of child sex abuse in February 2009 when a Montgomery County court commissioner allowed him to post a $10,000 bond, authorities said. Nunez, who was born in El Salvador, hasn’t been seen since. Nunez’s court records were sealed under adoption privacy laws.

State’s attorney for Montgomery County John McCarthy’s office said he could not comment.

Valencia Mohammed, a victim’s rights advocate who lost two sons in separate killings, said she’s amazed that Nunez was allowed to post bail.

“Immigrants seem to be let off on things that I know that we would be held on,” Mohammed said. “Why give them the opportunity flee? Why put the bail so low or make the sentence so lenient that you let the person out to commit so harm? It makes no sense.”

Joe diGenova, former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said these incidents are inevitable in a system that handles huge numbers of cases.

It happens all the time,” said diGenova. He said sanctions should be considered against judicial officials whose mistakes endanger the public. “This is important stuff,” he said. “The public relies on the function of the system.”

Good luck with that “judicial sanction” fantasy.  Judges are above the law: there are barely any mechanisms by which they censure each other, and forget about the rest of us weighing in.  What of that defense attorney who helped his client escape?  Were there even consequences?

Duplicative, hyper-vigilant review boards monitor every move the police make; civil rights organizations scream endlessly over every defendant’s rights and privileges; prosecutors face a rising tide of disruptive legal actions to keep them from doing their jobs.  But defense attorneys can do virtually anything in court with no fear of censure, and judges who fail to enforce sentencing law or make appalling errors that result in wrongful releases are never held responsible.  Not even when someone gets murdered as a consequence of their carelessness.

No, consequences are for the little people.  The non-lawyers, non-judges, non-criminals.

~~~

Here is a very interesting post from Britain by a cop who sees the same thing, day in and day out.  The cops pick them up, and the courts cut them loose, says PCBloggs:

[I]t disturbs me that the courts seem to operate in a world apart from the rest of us, with no accountability whatsoever when flagrantly ludicrous decisions are made and a nonsense made of facts. I have sat in court and heard a defence solicitor telling a magistrate that his client had not been in trouble with the police since the incident in question, with no recourse whatsoever for me to leap to my feet clutching the defendant’s police print screaming “Damned lies!” If a police officer falsely presented facts in court, regardless of whether through ignorance or malice, they would be rightly investigated and potentially prosecuted.

Likewise, if a police officer attended a report of child rape and decided to leave the offender wandering free to attack his next victim, he would probably be jailed for neglect. This judge remains free to continue unchecked. It appears that in the interests of a fair trial, anything goes.
So should the Yorkshire Ripper achieve his parole and go onto offend days, weeks or months later, the judge who frees him would at the worst face removal from office via an internal process. More likely, they would merely be villified in the press but no actual sanctions brought, largely because there are no serious disciplinary or criminal measures that can be brought. I am not suggesting we can or should realistically prosecute masses of judges for manslaughter or neglect for every offender who reoffends under their grammercy. But why should those options be ruled out when they weigh on the minds of every other member of the criminal justice process? Why should accountability fall at the last hurdle?
Why should accountability fall at the last hurdle?  Indeed.

East Coast Rapist, DeKalb County Rapist: Serial Rapists and DNA. It Works. If You Bother to Use It.

no comments

(Hat tip to Pat)

In 2007, I stood by the mailbox of the house I once briefly rented in Sarasota, Florida, contemplating the short distance between my house and the house where my rapist grew up, less than a mile, and a strikingly direct path over a well-worn shortcut across the train tracks.

I had just spent several months and many hundreds of dollars to get copies of the police investigation reports for my rape and some of the court records of the man who was accused of, but never prosecuted for the crime. Every time he was sent away on another sex crime conviction, the police closed all the other rape cases they attributed to him.  In 1987 he was tried for one sexual assault, and at least six other cases were shelved, including mine.

Such was the economy of justice in 1987: rapes were not deemed important enough to expend the court resources to try every known defendant for every crime.  This attitude arose not from the police but from the legal establishment and, by extension, the public.  It was an accepted status quo, not just in Sarasota, but everywhere.

To behave as if each rape victim actually deserved justice and every woman deserved to be safe from offenders was not anybody’s priority for spending money in 1987.  The same can still be said today, though attitudes have spottily improved.  We’ve never spent enough money to thoroughly investigate and prosecute more than a fraction of all crimes.

Criminals know this, though the public remains largely oblivious.

I remember being astonished when the police told me the D.A. would not be prosecuting my case, even though there was evidence and a rape kit.  A few months later, the first rape case in the United States using DNA evidence would be won in Orlando, a mere hundred miles and three jurisdictions away.  There, the D.A. had decided to be aggressive and use this new technology already in use in Britain, and he succeeded.  But more than a decade would pass before DNA evidence was even routinely collected and databased in most states.

A lot of people slipped through the cracks unnecessarily during that decade, including my rapist.  Sentenced to 15 years for his 1997 crime, he walked out of prison seven years later, the beneficiary of both the state’s unwillingness to fully fund prisons and activists’ efforts to get every convict back onto the streets as quickly as possible.  He immediately returned to raping elderly women, his preferred victims, and wasn’t back in prison until 1998.  At least the prisoner activists, and the defense bar, were happy.

Before the statute of limitations ran out on my case, I had offered to return to Florida to testify against my rapist. to try to keep him behind bars for a longer period of time.  The state had the ability to test the DNA in my rape kit.  I hired a private detective and reached out to the then-current Sarasota County D.A.  They practically laughed at me for having the audacity to suggest such a thing and said they didn’t have the money to go back and try old cases.  So Henry Malone walked, and more elderly women were raped.

Have things changed, even now?  Yes and no.  Two serial rape cases in the news show both progress and stagnation.

The stagnation is in DeKalb County, Georgia, the eastern part of metro Atlanta.  I know the area well: I worked there and lived nearby for much of two decades.  A serial rapist is on a real tear in DeKalb, raping at least three women since October and possibly three more since the last week of September.  Police officials told reporters that they had requested rush DNA tests on the three unknown cases from the state lab and were waiting for results.  But when CBS News Atlanta went to the state lab to find out why the tests weren’t done yet, the head of the DNA testing unit told reporters that no such request had been made.

I’m generally sympathetic to the police — less so to police brass, who sometimes rise through the ranks due to politics, not professionalism (there are some great precinct sergeants in Dekalb County, though).  But now that the mistake has been made, the executive command ought to be out in front, showing the public that they are serious about doing everything they can do, as quickly as they can do it, to catch this rapist.  Six, or even three rapes in a few months is escalating behavior, and he threatens his victims with a gun.

Ironically, the police caught several other fugitives while searching for this rapist.  It’s all about resources: we live knee-deep in wanted felons and under-investigated suspects, and our elected officials pretend that this is a perfectly normal way to live.

Meanwhile, police in the Washington D.C. area are using the media to appeal to the public to help them find the “East Coast Rapist.”  There should be more publicity.  This rapist has been active for at least 12 years: DNA tests reveal a pattern of travel between the D.C. suburbs, Connecticut, and Rhode Island during that time.

So there is a chance that somebody else knows the identity of the rapist because of his changing locations.  Profilers used to assume that serial rapists and serial killers were loners, but this, like so many other presumptions (ie. serial killers are usually white men, serial offenders pick only one type of victim) have been proven to be false.

The Washington Post has an interactive map listing the locations and dates of the East Coast rapist’s attacks in today’s paper:

GR2009121700056The rapist may have been in prison for some other crime between 2002 and 2007, and even 2007 and 2009.  You have to figure that officials in Washington D.C., Connecticut, and Rhode Island have already submitted DNA to the national database, so if he had ever been convicted of a sex crime, or even served time for some other felony in most states, his DNA would be on record somewhere.

But who knows?  Maybe he was committing sex crimes in one of the many places where DNA samples don’t get processed properly, like Wisconsin and Michigan and California.  Maybe he’s supposed to be behind bars but hasn’t been picked up yet because nobody is bothering to keep track of thousands of offenders who have absconded on bail, the situation in Philadelphia.

It’s all about resources.  Twenty-two years after the first use of DNA in convicting a serial rapist, there should be no backlogs.  Rape is too important.  Thousands of offenders shouldn’t still be walking out of prison after skipping their DNA tests, through deceit or carelessness.  Every one of these cases represents a denial of justice to someone.

Too bad criminal justice activists and law professors and university president-types don’t get all worked up when the person being denied justice is the victim, instead of the offender.

When I purchased the transcripts from some of Henry Malone’s many perambulations through the courts (and how nice that I had to pay, and pay a lot, for them), I was astonished to read the details of one hearing that was held at Malone’s behest because he demanded reimbursement for a fine related to his car, which had been impounded when he was arrested for sexual assault.  The judge and the defense attorney seemed amused by his bizarre demand.  I don’t find it so funny.  Imagine what we paid for the judge to read that demand, for the lawyer to research the claim and represent Malone in court, for the court reporter, and the security guards, and everything else that went into assuring that Henry Malone would get to be heard in court over an inane and dismissible whim.

The same courthouse where I had been denied the chance to face Malone for raping me because nobody wanted to bother spending the money to try him for more than one rape.  Criminals have rights the rest of us can’t dream of.  It’s all about the resources, and every last dime goes to offenders; they get everything they want, whenever they want it, out of the courts, while their victims wait out in the cold.

What Works? D.C. Moves Forward on Fighting Crime

no comments

As Atlanta prepares for the none-too-soon departure of the current mayor and police chief, it’s worth considering the example of cities where reasonable, engaged crime-fighting policies seem to be working:

Washington D.C. is experiencing the lowest murder rate in years.  Why? D.C.’s fairly new and interesting Police Chief, Cathy L. Lanier, attributes the drop in murder rates to intensive use of communication tools and intensive planning to anticipate trouble at certain events and between certain gangs:

She said police are able to target specific locations or types of crime and policing is so high-tech that investigators are analyzing crime minute-by-minute and have greater ability to attack crime before it happens. . .

In the District, the department creates a weekly “Go-Go report,” which details where and when home-grown bands are playing, because go-go concerts often bring together rival gangs, causing violence, Lanier said. There is also a weekly gang report that tells officers which gangs or crews are feuding that week.

Armed with that information, police can better predict where crimes might happen and take measures to prevent them.

Lanier also cited community policing and reward money for tips:

She pointed to a better relationship between the department and the community as a factor, saying it has helped get more violent repeat offenders off the streets. She said tips from the community have been flowing faster than ever, due in part to patrol officers knowing their beats and developing connections in the community.

Of course, what often goes unstated is that better communication with the police is a two-way street.  The community must do its part as well, instead of simply blaming cops for every ill, including those caused by criminals and by lenient courts.  Crime-fatigue plays a role in the numbers, too: even the most relentlessly dysfunctional communities reach a tipping point when residents tire of seeing young men killing each other and start cooperating with the authorities despite the presence of loud “community activists” who paint law enforcement as the enemy.

One such tipping point occurred in the mid-nineties, when crack cocaine had take such a profound toll that law-abiding citizens in high-crime neighborhoods were emboldened to demand harsher law enforcement and longer sentences for drug traffickers, dealers — and users.

I’ve had more than one former co-worker tell me that a prison term back in the 1990′s saved his life.  You won’t see lives saved that way now.

~~~~~~~~~~~

But a less-acknowledged factor in the drop in crime in formerly high-crime cities is population-shifting.  As Atlanta shut down their centralized housing projects, crime dispersed to the surrounding suburbs.  Counties outside Washington D.C. have also been dealing with influxes of criminal activity for more than a decade now.  Too much celebration of plummeting inner-city crime rates might not withstand a closer look at some suburban enclaves where crime has skyrocketed.  Nonetheless, according to the Washington Post, crime is even down in nearby Prince George’s County, which is (somewhat) to D.C. what Clayton County is to Atlanta — an outer suburb that saw crime rates explode as conditions in the inner city worsened or the population relocated:

In Prince George’s, violence had been steadily rising since the 1990s, when the county started absorbing spillover crime from the District. But this year, crime is at a 20-year low, and homicides are down almost 17 percent.

Police Chief Roberto L. Hylton said that since he took over the department in September, there has been a more defined mission about how to attack crime.

He identified car thefts as one of the county’s major problems and a “gateway” crime, meaning if criminals get away with stealing a car, they sometimes become emboldened and begin committing more daring acts. In 2004, about 18,500 cars were stolen in the county, more than in all of Virginia.

Since then, the department has focused on arresting car thieves and educating the public about protecting their cars, and the number of car thefts has shrunk by half.

There’s a thought.  Logistically, in metro Atlanta, a car is vital for committing many crimes.  Yet car thefts are still being downgraded by judges who view property crime as unimportant.  Perhaps if prosecutors and judges stepped up to the bat and began imposing real penalties for stealing cars, even when the offender is a juvenile, more of those juveniles might live to see 30, even if they spend a few years in jail in the interim.

Most analyses of crime trends still neglect the influential and negative role judges play by letting offenders off easy.  When cops and commanders, know that they’re not going to be able to get somebody off the streets, they are naturally less motivated to waste time and resources trying.  Then they have to single-handedly shoulder the public’s ire, as well.  As policing techniques grow more sophisticated, the courts have collapsed, and nobody notices.  The police do a lot, but they can only do so much.

Gary LaFree, a criminology professor at the University of Maryland, said it has taken police decades to figure out how to effectively target crime.

“In the ’60s, crime was like an act of God, like a tornado or earthquake,” LaFree said. “Where policing has changed is that we’ve gotten the idea this is a problem we created and there are human solutions to it. Obviously, crime is not randomly distributed. It is connected to hot spots in cities and other areas.”

LaFree is one of the most credible voices in criminology today (I am trying to say more positive things about criminologists).  Two of his books, out of print now, I think, are very much worth reading for their non-ideological efforts to understand crime:

The Post reporter notes that LaFree and others discount the theory that crime goes up during economic downturns:

LaFree and others agree that crime doesn’t automatically go up when the economy is poor. Property crime is also trending down in many jurisdictions, including the District, Prince George’s and Montgomery. The FBI reported last week that bank robberies across the country fell in the first quarter of the year, with 1,498 reported, compared with 1,604 in the first quarter of 2008.

Criminologists point to the Great Depression in the 1930s as a time of relatively low crime compared with the Roaring Twenties, when the country experienced more violence.

Atlanta’s next mayor could do worse than looking to Washington D.C. when filling the role of Chief of Police.  D.C. Chief Cathy L. Lanier likely isn’t going anywhere, but the example she sets — a homegrown cop who started in the District on foot patrol; sticks close to her troops and the streets; promotes open communication channels, and is known for her “tireless work ethic” — is the type of chief Atlanta needs:

She has created a Web site where cops can take their gripes and advice directly to her. She gives out her business card to everyone she meets, and often her private cell number as well. (She guesses at least a thousand D.C. citizens now have it.) She insists on being called every time there is a shooting in the city.  “A lot of people have criticized me a little for being too far down in the weeds,” Lanier admits. “But if you separate yourself from the people involved in and impacted by crime, you’re going to fail.”

Imagine that.