mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Crime and punishment...

Via InstaPundit, TCS has this excellent article on crime and security.

I've always thought that goverment should do more to prevent and punish property crimes. The general response to theft, theft from vehicles, mugging, and other low-dollar crime seems to be "oh well, insurance will cover it". I've been unlucky enough to be a property crime victim twice - I had the windows smashed on my first car while it was parked in front of my parent's house and I had the wheels stolen off my current car a month after I bought it. The reaction from the cops both times was basically "sucks to be you".

I think there is a certain amount of truth to the broken window theory of crime prevention - the idea that preventing nusance crimes and keeping a neighborhood up prevent crime. But I think they also need to address things like property crimes that are a step up from loitering but still frequently ignored by cops.

I'm not sure I agree with the TSC author's suggestion that the Federal government should get involved and fund this kind of thing, but I think it is a huge issue. Ownership of property is something that our country was founded on, and people won't work hard if they know their stuff isn't safe.

I can think of a few things that would reduce crime - without more federal spending:

-states should issue will-issue concealed carry permits. As John Lott demonstrated so well in his book More Guns Less Crime, concealed weapons can reduce crime. If you are a thief, do you want to rob someone if there is a chance they might have a gun on them?

-Cities and towns should move police officers from speed traps to neighborhood patrols. It amazes me how frequently I see a cop poking out from behind a bush on some stretch of road where the speed limit is set way below what a safe speed on that road is, and how infrequently one sees cops patroling neighborhoods. Speed traps are nothing but a tax on people unlucky enough to be driving in the wrong place at the wrong time. Visible police patrols are an effective deterant of crime.

-Other areas that cops can stop tying up taxpayer resources - marijuania enforcement and underage drinking. Yes, if they are driving drunk or stoned, throw the book at them. But I resent the cops raiding a bar to catch some 20 year old drinking a bud light while someone is unscrewing the wheels off my car.


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