Question of the Day: Do We Need More Cops or More Armed Citizens?

 

When I lived in the UK, the BBC ended every single news story about any social ill by moaning about money. The unspoken assumption: anything can be solved with enough government spending. Except, of course, out-of-control government spending. Wait. That too. The same principle applies to policing in The Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave. Despite its leftward lean, the legacy media is down with the law enforcement community’s constant kvetch: we need more cops. Crime problem (and there’s always a crime problem)? More police! Here’s the media meme in all its glory, via Oakland, CA’s mercurynews.com . . .

For the past five years Oakland police have recovered an average of more than 1,400 guns a year — many seized from criminals, and others turned in by residents who no longer want them in their homes.

But those statistics are on track to take a nose-dive this year, and not because there are fewer guns on the streets.

It’s because budget cuts have left the city with fewer law enforcement personnel for specialized enforcement teams who used to target gun crimes, officials say. And with shootings and homicides on the rise, the plunging gun recovery rate is a serious problem.

Is it? Check this from last January’s sanfranciscocbslocal.com:

Despite recent headlines, the homicide rate in Oakland dropped in 2010 for the fourth year in a row. There were 95 murders in Oakland last year – 15 fewer than in 2009.

In addition, 2010 marked the first time since 2005 that the number of homicides in Oakland fell below 100.

One hundred homicides in a largely urban population of 400k? Total violent crime hovers at around 8000 incidents. How many of either involved guns, anyway? Is it possible that Oakland doesn’t need any more cops? Of course not.

Police Department Spokesperson Holly Joshi said the loss of 80 police officers to budget cuts a year ago and the reorganization of the remaining force severely hampered the department’s ability to proactively go after criminals. OPD has 655 sworn officers after nearly 30 were rehired earlier this year. The department is authorized to have 669 officers.

Mayor Jean Quan said she received a commitment this spring from the Obama administration to step up the partnership between OPD and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives. ATF already assists OPD with identifying firearm traffickers

Oh great. Call in the ATF. Enough I say. Enough cops.

Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale) said gun crime is the “biggest problem we have in Oakland.” He said he is “ashamed” when people come up to him on the street and say they are scared and ask what he is doing about it. His aunt and other seniors who live in the Posada de Colores senior apartments in the Fruitvale district tell him they are afraid to even go to Walgreens to buy milk.

“Shootings happen almost every night, and innocent bystanders get shot, and we are still talking about it,” De La Fuente said. “It’s a challenge, and we cannot ignore it. It’s not just one single thing that is going to make a difference, but every possible tool we can give police to go after criminals, such as the gang injunction, which gives police the opportunity to get some of these guns off the street.”

In this context, “every possible tool” are the three scariest words I’ve heard in a long, long time. (My Constitutional rights just dove under the sofa.) Screw that. Arm the innocents. While I love Officer Christopher P. Fusaro like a brother, it’s time that Americans took John Lott’s stricture seriously: more guns, less crime. More of us must carry and we must find a way to carry openly.

Am I wrong?

comments

  1. avatar Silver says:

    Cops clean up and investigate after a crime has already been committed and the damage already done.

    An armed would-be victim can prevent the crime from happening.

    More responsible, armed citizens. And if you want more cops, at least educate them on legal carry laws so they stop harassing law-abiding citizens. (It’s a problem in PA, dunno how bad in the rest of the country)

    1. avatar mikeb302000 says:

      Have you seen this one? It’s kinda silly, but fun. Of course the ironical point isn’t funny at all. It’s my feeling exactly.

    2. avatar Ben Franklin says:

      It’s a matter of dollars and common “cents”. To hire one officer it costs tax payers this officer’s: salary + health care + pension + vacation pay + training costs + litigation costs (if he does something wrong). One concealed carry holder pays TO the tax payer his license fee. PLUS in the event this “cost free” citizen shoots, captures, injures or kills a violent felon it costs the taxpayer nothing. PLUS if he kills the violent felon he will save the taxpayer almost a million dollars in the felon’s: arrest, prosecution, appeals, incarceration, probation, food, clothing, health care AND the cost of all of that felon’s future crimes against innocents. The value of one ccw holder — “PRICELESS”

  2. avatar stateisevil says:

    Yes, we need more swarms of officers to eat out our substance. I love being forced to pay their salaries so they can swat team raw milk sellers and cannabis smokers. Boot lickin is the American way.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Boot lickin is the American way.

      Not to worry. Washington is preparing to outlaw boots.

  3. avatar Nemesis says:

    I agree that more need to carry. Responsible owners, that is. But openly? I dont think so. While I am all for a persons right to do so. Mr. Bad Guy who sees you toting around that cool XD .45 in that Serpa holster, can just wait for the milisecond that you are looking the other way and all of a sudden you are without a gun. And now hes armed. Now, he doesnt have to carry that crappy .25 auto that he got for a bag o rock. Why open carry? Why show the bad guys your edge, your way out. For bad guys who are intent on mayhem in public, they arent gonna run scared cause they see you packin’ heat. In my opinion, it just makes you a target. And when bad guy approaches and sees your movement to the holster (if you are lucky enough to see him first) he knows EXACTLY whats getting ready to happen. Many Tier 1 outfits live by the motto: “Speed, Surprise, and Violence of Action”. Why give up surprise, sometimes your best defense, if avoidance is out the window.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      If there are a group (as in three or more) of armed civilians in the same area, the calculations change.

      1. avatar Nemesis says:

        I can give some merit to your “Safety in numbers” point. Although Mr. Tzu may say: “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.” Edit: Although I will say that if we could get together a boat crew from Dev Gru or a CAG troop and go to Walgreens to pick up milk with a SAW, a M60 and maybe even one of those cool AA-12’s, I would be game for that. Of course if we went in one of the dune buggys with the .50 on top…

        1. avatar Ben Franklin says:

          Nemesis, you are a genius. Your “Tzu” explains why so many violent felons are bagged by ccw holders that are female, or over the age of 65, or both.

    2. avatar stateisevil says:

      Please cite some real world examples of this.

      1. avatar JR says:

        Impossible, considering there’s such a thing as a retention holster! No millisecond, no “all of a sudden”.

    3. avatar HAVEGUN says:

      I am not a big fan of open carry, but far as I am concerned it is their right.

      If they are the first target, better for me.

      Fans of open carry make good arguments, like the sight of armed person(s) is a deterrent, and I believe that.

      At some point I have to trust my fellow citizen, like I hope the unarmed sheep trust me.

    4. avatar Dean Weingarten says:

      It hardly ever happens. I know of exactly one incident in which an openly armed citizen was victimized. In that case, the handgun was stolen without other injury to the victim.

      If what you hypothesize is correct, we would see multiple stories of police having their sidearms stolen from their person. It almost never happens.

  4. avatar tdiinva says:

    Funny, I was thinking about this very question only applied to DC. My guess is that an increase in the number of armed citizens would ultimately result in the reduced incidence of crime. However, there is a learning curve for the bad guys. After all when you have owned the streets for decades you might not immediately respond to the disincentive to commit crimes against you rneighbors. I suspect that there would be an increase in shootings both of criminals and good guys for some limited period of time. The question is would adverse public opinion truncate the transition to safer streets.

    By the way I agree with Robert on open carry. One guy carrying is target. Five percent opening carrying is a deterrent.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      One guy carrying is target.

      I disagree completely, and there are no statistics pointing to your conclusion. So without numbers, let’s be logical. BG sees a man in condition yellow carrying a BFG (that’s a Big F^cking Gun for those who don’t have callused fingertips from texting) and an elderly woman in condition white carrying a purse. Do you really think the BG would rather tangle with an alert armed man or an oblivious granny? BGs are stupid, but they’re not terminally stupid.

      1. avatar HAVEGUN says:

        I don’t carry a gun to protect some “oblivious granny.”
        The concept of open carry as I understand it the BG is deterred by my armed presence, “oblivious granny” benefits.

        Same argument for conceal carry, who knows who is armed?

      2. avatar tdiinva says:

        Single man carrying may deter a criminal for the moment so the criminal just waits until the threat moves on. He cannot wait out multiple random carriers.

        1. avatar HAVEGUN says:

          +1

      3. avatar Ralph says:

        I wasn’t talking about the armed man deterring a crime against grandma. I was talking about the armed man deterring crime against himself. Frankly, grandma’s on her own. Aren’t we all?

  5. avatar Matt says:

    “Mayor Jean Quan said she received a commitment this spring from the Obama administration to step up the partnership between OPD and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives. ATF already assists OPD with identifying firearm traffickers”
    The ATF helps indentify firearm traffickers???? Is that because the traffickers have ATF on the backs of their jackets??

    1. avatar Totenglocke says:

      “The ATF helps indentify firearm traffickers???? Is that because the traffickers have ATF on the backs of their jackets??”

      I’m not sure whether to go with “funny” or “insightful” on that one….

  6. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

    Cops are great for drawing chalk outlines and lifting fingerprints. Deterrence? Not so much. To get the deterrent effect most people wish the police had, you’d need a cop on every corner. This is simply not possible.

    Law abiding citizens carrying openly? That would help, if more people did so. I usually conceal, but I’m not uptight about it. My state doesn’t require concealment. Currently, only about 1.5% of my state has permits. Not sure that’s high enough to act as a deterrent even if we all carried openly.

  7. avatar Derek says:

    Problem number 1. “…severely hampered the department’s ability to proactively go after criminals.”
    That’s not what police do. They are a reactive force, not proactive. You’re only a criminal once you’ve committed a crime; a crime for the police to REACT to. Until then, they can’t do anything to you BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T COMMITTED A CRIME.
    Problem number 2. “…gun crime is the “biggest problem we have in Oakland.”” No, no it is not.

    1. avatar SteveOfTheNorth says:

      +1

  8. avatar Pete says:

    Question of the Day: Do We Need More Cops or More Armed Citizens?

    I’m going to go with Option B – LOTS more armed citizens. Hey we already have plenty of armed criminals, we might as well even the playing field for the honest people.

  9. avatar Todd AF Vet says:

    No you are not wrong. FYI the mercury news link is not working I get a long URL string with this in it “RightsSessionExpired”

    I also agree more armed citizens less cops. I think the police should be called 2nd responders, the first is the victim and/or bystander that reports the crime AFTER it has happened

  10. avatar Totenglocke says:

    We need more armed citizens and less police. Why? Because citizens, whether armed or not, are held accountable by the law whereas police are considered to be above the law.

    We could also do a lot to improve things if police only arrested people who committed an actual crime (theft, rape, murder, etc) and not arresting / harassing people just for having different opinions than the police. If Johnny Fratboy wants to smoke some weed, it’s not harming anyone – there is no justification to ruin his future, incur massive costs to taxpayers, and increase the odds of him becoming a violent criminal just because some old micromanagers think that just because they dislike weed, everyone should.

    If we changed the definition of “criminal” back to what it used to mean, not only would we need fewer police, but we’d also have fewer real criminals since the number of youth who’ve gotten in trouble with the police over minor issues and then fall in with gangs and such would decline dramatically.

    1. avatar matt says:

      The police have qualified immunity, they for the most part are officially above the law. Prosecutors and Judges have absolute immunity.

      The problem with getting rid of drug and other laws would be a massive jump in unemployment. 2.3 million in jails/prisons and who knows how many in law enforcement, corrections, legal and other related industries. How much additional consumption is generated by having these industries around? There are currently ~14 million people officially unemployed.

      1. avatar Totenglocke says:

        And how many more people would have jobs if they weren’t locked up for some BS charge? How many more productive members of society would we have if half the prison guards had jobs doing something to benefit society and didn’t involve paychecks that forcefully take money from other people’s paychecks?

        1. avatar matt says:

          Things which benefit society usually end up reducing jobs. So we have to come up with new types of service jobs such as law enforcement, corrections, legal, etc. The duration of unemployment is more than double the average for the past 40 years (http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/UEMPMED)which implies the job market is becoming completely saturated with applicants. What would the average become if you suddenly had several million more unemployed?

        2. avatar Totenglocke says:

          Wrong – the job market is saturated with unqualified applicants. Even now with as many people going to college each year, only about 25% of adults in the US have a bachelors degree and only around 8% have a masters / PhD / professional degree (lawyer, CPA, etc). The problem is that the US has an overabundance of unskilled workers, which is exactly why education level is closely tied to unemployment rates.

          http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/Figure01-earnings_by_degree.gif

          The overwhelming majority of people who are unemployed either only have a high school education or dropped out of high school. Those that graduated from college have a pretty low unemployment rate in comparison.

          Also, technology that improves society creates far more jobs than it destroys. Yes, we have fewer bank tellers as a result of ATM’s, but as a result we now have jobs for the people designing ATM’s, building ATM’s, doing repairs on ATM’s, and writing the software for ATM’s.

        3. avatar matt says:

          Far less jobs are involved in the manufacture and service of ATMs compared to the number of jobs there would be if they did not exist. Since the manufacture and service of ATMS generally require greater skills than a bank teller, it would cost banks more money to have ATMs if ATMs did infact increase the number of man hours involved in bank telling. Any jobs that require an education can usually also be outsourced overseas thanks to the internet/globalization. Also the comparison of education and income is irrelevant. The educated actually have experienced a greater increase in relative unemployment from 1992 to now:

          Unemployment Rate – Bachelor’s degree and higher, 25 years and over (LNS14027662)
          http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/LNS14027662?cid=12

          Unemployment Rate – Less than a High School Diploma, 25 years and over (LNS14027659)
          http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/LNS14027659?cid=12

        4. avatar Totenglocke says:

          Yes, having an unemployment rate of 4.3% instead of 3.2% (which is obviously going to increase some as the percentage of the population with bachelors degrees increases) is much worse off than having no education and going from an unemployment rate of 10.9% to 14.5%. (Oh, and to call it “increasing at a higher rate” is disingenuous seeing as how they’re both increases of approximately 1/3 – 33% and 34% are close enough for the difference to be statistically insignificant).

          I have to ask, what education do you have and what do you do for a job?

  11. avatar Ralph says:

    More personal responsibility (such as carrying) = less crime = fewer cops needed.

    One reason why the state wants to disarm us is less personal responsibility = more crime = more cops needed.

    If we are disarmed, the state can justify enlarging its paramilitary forces. More cops = more state control = less freedom.

    A lot of cops are really good guys who are devoted to doing “the right thing.” Unfortunately, cops will always do the bidding of their masters, and that’s the problem.

  12. avatar Kerry says:

    More criminals with guns, more criminals without guns, more honest citizens with guns, and/or fewer criminals…? The phrase “get guns off the street” riles me. If they want to get ‘guns off the street’ then implement the police state and get on with it. Otherwise the gun-getting comes only after the criminal getting, seems to me. How does an ‘illegal’ gun become so? Only after some sort of criminal act, yes…? Then let us certainly have more legal guns in more hands.

  13. avatar Joe says:

    We certainly do not need more cops,as already stated, they cannot deter crimes(unless in the immieadate area at the time) which is doubtful to occur.City budgets are thin,however, in my city,there is a cop who lives a few doors down,and,he has a car,most of the time its idle.He has a motorcycle (police) .Now we have 2 taxpayer vehicles for 1 cop..
    I think cops have too much authority as is,just like our govt. they want to rule you,control you.In the meantime criminals run free,and when caught ,well, you can see how the court system is.A slap on the wrist(maybe) and put back on the street.
    Naw, no more cops,more armed citizens;buy more ammo.

  14. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    Most BG’s are COWARDS who stalk soft targets that won’t or can’t fight back. You may find one or two morons who may try to take on someone open carrying, but most of them will move on to poor ole grandma because they stand a much better chance of not being shot.

  15. avatar SanguineSimplicity says:

    Oakland does not need more officers. It needs better policing. As a former resident, I recall several years ago when 3 officers were killed in the line of duty while trying to apprehend a convicted sex offender/ general felon scumbag. The media played out this tragedy to its fullest. The word on the streets however held a different tune: “Dead perv? Yeah… but we got 3 less cops now.” This city holds a somewhat unique place in the history of urban centers and their policing. I believe the city administration has been trying to recover for 40+ years from its reaction to, and citizen response of such, the indigenous armed movement of the Black Panthers. The resistance of the (majority) populace against police authority has been ingrained, albeit all rights to bear arms now castrated by the state (for the good of the people, of course…they know not what they do to themselves). So, EQUITABLY distribute police resources. I’m talkin about you, units sitting around Lake Merritt at starbucks waiting for noise complaints and disputes about who’s dog is shitting on who’s lawn up in the hills. What about the hour long response times down in the lower bottoms or out east?
    Give the ENTIRE community back their dignity and right to self defense and self preservation. Until then, Oakland is just another fucked up city that has gone to all lengths to protect and coddle its political/financial base and elite citizens while letting the actual base and mjority of the community live plagued by crime and helpless, lest they themselves face the brunt of the legal system for taking their lives into their own hands.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      +1

      Brilliant.

      1. avatar SanguineSimplicity says:

        Thank you. I’ve been a huge fan of this site and lurking in the comments for a while, but this topic just touched too close to home to not say anything.

  16. avatar Ivan Pistov says:

    In my state open carry has always been the law. In the last 50 or 60 years few people used it. During the early 1900’s almost everybody in rural areas always went armed. The practice faded away after WW II for some reason or other. I personally like open carry only on my ranch, although I do know some folks, usually ex-Marines or Army who like to opencarry without licenses in town. We have a pretty good CCW law here now, and our governor, a female-ex D.A., carries and is an advocate. (You may have guessed what state it is.) If open carry is the only recognized option then I say USE IT! But be vigilant and prepared.

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