To combat violent crime in general and “gun violence” in specific, West Palm Beach Police and West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio are introducing what they’re calling “Neighborhood Enhancement Teams.” They’re talking about two five-member police squads working “24/7 with teenagers and gangs” to help “identify troubled youth and connect them with organizations that will help put them on a different path.” Less romantically, the cops will “patrol and monitor two square miles of West Palm Beach.” While there’s nothing wrong with the idea per se, the big question here is . . .
why the police? Isn’t this the kind of “outreach” program that educators, religious leaders, local businessmen and other concerned community members should be doing? When did cops become social workers? Not to mention: what are the odds of a bunch of cops turning around gang members and potential gang members by patrolling their ‘hood? A lot better than trying to reduce or eliminate the gangs’ “easy access to guns,” as the usual anti-gun suspect – Her Honor the Mayor – suggests. But not even close to good.