Police to increase patrols in East Liberty

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Noah Mustion
Participant
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This area is becoming a freaking warzone. Three people killed in two separate shootings yesterday alone. So the police are apparently increasing their attention to the area: http://www.wpxi.com/news/24305956/detail.html


alnilam
Participant
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:(


stefb
Participant
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yay! glad i live right next to that neighborhood! so noah, which route are we gonna take home from flock rides now? i don’t think the ubar lock will deflect bullets.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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penn > main > butler > baker > jancey > etc.

a workout!


Marko82
Participant
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ieverhart
Participant
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What a trackstand.


stefb
Participant
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ok noah. that is what i was thinking. even one wild place is an option. i usually go down and up that road when i ride by myself.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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nah, i was being a tad facetious… i’ll still go up highland and negley if need be unless i’m coming from lawrenceville….


ejwme
Participant
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http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10201/1073932-53.stm

apparently the latest two were attempting a robbery, and this weekend didn’t start the uptick in patrols.


sloaps
Participant
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Stepping up patrols is like taking more medication for your Type II diabeetus.

These are children inflicting violence. We lock them up for 5 or 10 years. Then what? They come back more desperate, more nihilistic.

I think DUQ earlier in the week discussed the apparent need for four more prisons in PA at a cost of $200 million – it came out to approximately $50k per inmate. Then add the annual costs of housing them.

Where would these kids be if the state spent that on at-risk youth programs, sports leagues or outdoor adventure camps?


JZ
Participant
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<i>Stepping up patrols is like taking more medication for your Type II diabeetus.</i>

So, uh, your solution is that we should not treat the problem and die instead?


brian j
Participant
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@sloaps: +1

Below is a (slightly) long excerpt from an interview with Jacques Ellul (notable 20th century sociologist and theologian–if you studied propaganda at all, anywhere, you’ve read Ellul, whether it was explicit or not). I think it reinforces the point Sloaps makes.

Our work was not a question of moralistic

teaching because most of these young

people are violent and hardened simply

because nobody has shown interest in

them and loved them. Nobody talkc; to

them,

Our work with them consisted of creating

a situation in which we could talk

to them, listen to them, tolerate them and

put up with all the stupid things they do

or say.

All these young people were stealing motorbikes, They would use them to play chicken by seeing who could come closest to the cliff by a lake without stopping. They would see who jumped off the bike

closest to the edge before it went over

and into the water. So at one point one of

the key members who was working with

them in this project said, “Well that’s

very exciting, but maybe it would be

more exciting to start diving into the lake

to bring the motorbikes up and see who

can repair them so that they can be used

again.” The group of young people

thought that was an exciting idea, This

has given birth to a club of underwater

diving. In the following years the drop in juvenile delinquency was startling. We

had a group of 250 of these really tough

kids.

The basic problem is always the same:

finding someone to love and accept–not

to judge them In this very room I have

met with many of these young people

who came to me when they had problems

they couldn’t handle and we talked

together to try to find a solution right in

this room. I’ve also had the role of keeping

away the police, judges and courts

that were often after these young people–

we wanted enough time to actually

get these young people to a solution.

Edit: Sorry for the craptacular formatting–that was copied from a PDF


Tabby
Participant
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@Sloaps- a group of youth are on a 250 mile bike ride right now sponsored by the Health Department: http://www.alleghenycounty.us/news/2010/20100715.aspx

But that’s only 8 kids. How can more kids be reached by programs like this? Not sure.


brian j
Participant
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But that’s only 8 kids. How can more kids be reached by programs like this? Not sure.

Don’t wait for the gub’mint to do something about it. There ARE programs that trying to build relationships with kids in the neighborhood, and each has their own tact.


ejwme
Participant
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JZ – I don’t think anybody is advocating encouragement of the status quo. But throwing money at the _problem_ is what is being questioned. I believe what sloaps is trying to say is that if that same money were thrown at the _people_, the problems might be WAY more manageable with standard means.

The problem with that is that there are lots of for-profit prisons run by larger corporations or investment groups, but there aren’t that many conglomerates running summer camps for low income kids. Helping people is not seen as profitable.

If you’ve got the time and inclination, I found a really thorough treatise on the codependency of for-profit prisons, poor government run social programs, and financial market deregulation:

http://www.dunwalke.com/introduction.htm

Stu – your “piano lesson” index test for whether bicycling is safe on a given route is analagous to Catherine Austin Fitts’ popsicle index, and makes me think of that every time you bring it up.


JZ
Participant
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Hmm, maybe I should’ve been more clear. I agree that addressing the root causes of the problems is a better long-term approach than treating the symptoms with a temporary law enforcement crackdown. I just think that the diabetes metaphor is deeply flawed.


rsprake
Participant
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Removed my post because ejwme said it so much better than I did.


sloaps
Participant
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I agree that addressing the root causes of the problems is a better long-term approach than treating the symptoms with a temporary law enforcement crackdown.

Yup!

Diabeetus: if you’re at-risk, would you rather modify your lifestyle and diet to eliminate the likelihood of dying, or would you rather wait until you get Type II, take medication and die earlier than expected?

My point is that merely ramping up police enforcement, simply manages a larger problem at its unfortunate ending. Without engaging these kids at a period in their lives when they begin to exhibit at-risk behavior, these issue will continue, grow and meet an unfortunate ending for each of them and the people around them.

Also, from the article the two teens that died, Daniel and Diontre, frequented Inner City Ministries up until recently. Seemingly on a path towards a betterment for them and the people around them, but why the sudden change – that is were family (if, available) and positive outlets/ mentors are needed most.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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I though the most interesting aspect of the craptacularly-formatted Ellul citation, was the need for the opportunity to talk with kids. Not TO them, WITH them.

See those kids as people. Ask their name, give them yours. Treat them as people, with respect. Maybe they’ll see you (the individual who took the time to SPEAK with them) as a person. An individual.

Maybe it starts to happen one interaction at a time. Putting names to faces – heck putting faces to the bodies of the members of what we otherwise see as a “group” or a “mob.”

That OPPORTUNITY (to talk with these kids) might be the thing we might try to make happen. Just a thought.

(I don’t mean to revive the earlier thread about community outreach, etc., that line from Ellul just caught my eye.)


Marko82
Participant
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Peer-Pressure is mighty hard to overcome. I suspect that the teens involved were “hanging with the wrong crowd” thus leading to their abandonment of the Ministries program. Fortunately for most of us our peer-groups empathized going to school, getting a job etc. That’s one of the things that “policing” can never solve, it has to be community and family based.

As a side comment: I find it fascinating the amount of entrepreneurial business savvy it would take to be a successful drug dealer. These guys are the equivalent to MBA’s in business talent when you think about it. Of course the reverse is true of some CEO’s too.


Mick
Participant
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@sloaps I think DUQ earlier in the week discussed the apparent need for four more prisons in PA …

I don’t know. It seems that a high proportion of our population is already in prison. I’m really not comfortable with the prison industry as a whole.

Jimmy Carter, in his interview with Rolling Stone for their 40th anniversity, said that when he was governor of Georgia, he had a competition with teh other governors as to who could get more of the poulation out of prison. He implied that a lot of imprisonment is driven by prison industry lobbyists.

The sociological stats I’ve read indicate that deterents for crime include probability of being caught and rapidity of sentencing – the faster the judicial process, the more deterent.

Length of sentence, if I recall correctly, was not a deterent. I guess that for maladjusted 19 year-olds, 10 years is the same as 40 years: “forever”.

If this is correct, where the money should go is enforcement and to the judicial process, not to the stir screws.

So more policing is OK. Not quite as good as “more AND BETTER policing,” but a step in a good direction.

Of course, once an industry starts lobbying, everything about the issue will be affeected. If they are purchasing legislators, you can bet that there are advertising bucks influencing content of the main stream media (best exemplified by that ranting, right-wing liar, Rush Limbaugh.)

There are a couple of other valid rants I could go into on the of crime. For example, where our schools are failing (and, more importantly, why). Better to stop now.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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Where would these kids be if the state spent that on at-risk youth programs, sports leagues or outdoor adventure camps?

is there (non-anecdotal) evidence that these programs work? not that the approach isn’t good (address the cause instead of the result), but do we know that we’re not still just throwing money at the problem?


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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I thought sloaps’ meant that if we were considering spending that kind of money incarcerating people, wouldn’t it be better spent on education, etc. Not to speak for anyone else here, but I didn’t have the sense he was agreeing with building more prisons.


sloaps
Participant
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but do we know that we’re not still just throwing money at the problem?

Have we ever had the opportunity to find out?

That’s the difficulty with social science. It’s implement, analyze, adapt, repeat. This requires time and money over a period longer than a politician can afford to use the results for reelection or reallocation of earmarked funds. So we send troops to the border, seal off downtown to evil doers or ramp up patrols after the shots have been fired. A loosely placed band-aid over a pumping gusher of a problem.

My issue is that when the police get involved, we’ve already lost. I believe “first responders” are the last line of defense in combating whatever social ills a community may have.

There exist secular non-profits and church groups which work to engage at-risk kids, but apparently their efforts aren’t enough. So, I believe, if private enterprise cannot ensure the social well-being of a community, then the big, bad gubmint has to help in a manner that cultivates a safe community and not simply eliminates the weeds.


brian j
Participant
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Sloaps, I don’t disagree with you.

I also think that if anyone believes that anyone/thing can stop (fill in your favorite social ill here) completely, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. That’s not to say we shouldn’t try really, really, really hard, but that effort needs to be backed by the very realistic understanding that it will, at some point, fail. But, that failure isn’t a reason to shift resources (whatever they may be) elsewhere. It’s just reality.


cburch
Participant
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exactly. everyone is terminal, but we still go to the doctor.


alnilam
Participant
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Increased police doesn’t have to be bad and mean more incarceration. Sadly, it often does, and in this case likely will. What follows is stuff I read somewhere but couldn’t really back up right now and don’t recall where it was, so take it with as much salt as you want.

A politician gets known for being “tough on crime” when it increases funding to SWAT teams and paddy wagons and vicious dogs. In contrast, shifting police resources more toward programs where police walk around town and talk to the community around them would, I think, be another good step (as well as outreach programs, definitely). This “community policing,” which is less and less common in the US but still exists, apparently prevents crime more than it incarcerates it. But it’s hard for a politician to get elected for things like that when the other guy is appealing to the “catch’em good, lock’em up” voting contingent that wants to see more lesslethal weapons and paddy wagons out there and send all them criminals to rot in jail. Someone here mentioned prison industry lobbyists; given how creepily profitable that industry is, I don’t doubt those exist, but I think there is also, sadly, a lot of public support for throwing half our population in jail.

Forgive the unintended coincidence that I’m posting this quote on a bike forum, but an old police chief who was a big advocate of, well, friendlier policing once said, “the worst thing to ever happen to police was the air-conditioned squad car.”

Maybe all that talk is simply pining for a non-existent past when crime was prevented rather than punished; maybe incarceration was always this bad. I don’t know. False-nostalgia or no, I think they’re some interesting thoughts about how the idea of “more police” could coexist with that of “safer community,” instead of “diminished community (because they went to jail instead).”


sloaps
Participant
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All good points. Solution is just somewhere in between, methinks.

P:


ejwme
Participant
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I have a friend who is a retired minister. She had a program… she called it something like casting the net or Fishing for Jesus or something. Regardless, she would walk out in the community and talk to whoever she came across, mostly kids playing in the street, all ages (some not so “kids”, doing not so “playing”). Invite them to the church. A lot would show up, she’d basically just love them. Provide them with a safe place to be, to learn, to interact, with rules to keep the church community running (no vandalizing property, no hitting or being rude, normal stuff). She had an honor roll program of sorts, where if you made honor roll at school you got some kind of special treatment, if not you were loved, tutored, and encouraged to keep trying anyway. You strayed, she made sure you knew what you did, your parents knew, the consequences were clear, and the opportunity to learn and improve was obvious.

A lot of kids stuck around and when they were older, went out and do the same thing she started doing, walking in the community and invite others in.

Anecdotally, on an individual basis, her work is proof that involvement is effective in crime prevention. But she wasn’t state sponsored. She was just doing what she felt to be The Right Thing.

Her actions turned community into Community. Yes it was held together by religion, but it also let kids know that there were more people than just their parents or the law holding them responsible for their actions. By humanizing each at risk child as an individual and showing them their place in a community where anonymity was impossible, she fostered personal and communal responsibility.

But that takes a lifetime (full time) to do, there is no money in it, it will not always work, and there will be more gray in it than simple black and white. None of this appeals to politicians, lobbyists, or (from what I’ve seen) the voting public, I agree with alnilam.

I do not think that this type of action would by any means replace or negate the needs for prisons, we need prevention and punishment both. But our natures as social beings mandates that, if done with thorough patience over our entire lives, it will be effective.

Biking, by removing the anonymous steel box and placing people more nakedly in the environment, is an excellent way to start the process. When presented with an environment like the one that started the discussion, we can either 1) avoid it (bike around it), 2) ignore it (bike through anyway, fingers crossed around a u-lock), or 3) make it better (get involved). Most people here choose the latter. It takes time, but does work.


bikefind
Participant
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In contrast, shifting police resources more toward programs where police walk around town and talk to the community around them would, I think, be another good step

This is just a sliver of what you’re talking about, but I was bike riding in Portland ME several years ago and I came upon a police officer – I think he was in his car but with the window down. Police always inspire a bit of stress for me, without my having to have done something wrong to have this reaction, so I sort of gathered up my apprehension and continued to ride. As I got close enough for us to make eye contact, I had the feeling he was going to say something to me, so further bracing. He waved and said hello! I almost fell off my bike. I liked that town alot.


reddan
Keymaster
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@ejwme: When presented with an environment like the one that started the discussion, we can either 1) avoid it (bike around it), 2) ignore it (bike through anyway, fingers crossed around a u-lock), or 3) make it better (get involved).

Don’t forget a variation on #2: 4) Accept it. Ride through normally, interacting with people you see via a nod and a smile. Risk? Yeah, there is some. Welcome to living :-)


ejwme
Participant
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reddan – I think that falls under 3), a smile can go a long way towards diffusing tensions, hokey as it seems. The smiler by default sees the smilee as a human being, which says a lot, all of it good.


reddan
Keymaster
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@ejwme: I can work with that. :-)


ejwme
Participant
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:D


caitlin
Participant
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I didnt read this whole thread, but one of the youth who was killed was on his way to becoming a skilled contractor through a work program and was hard working. I assume the temptation to make 4x what he would in a normal week took precedence when he made the choice to try to commit a robbery. so sometimes, no matter how many great programs there are engaging youth, etc, there is still the idea or temptation that life could be easier if you just do a few illegal activities. I’m sure he saw that from other people in his neighborhood.


rsprake
Participant
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There is the temptation, but I think the goal should be to get the good kids out of the shit and into living successful lives so they can be examples for the next generation.

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