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?