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Monday, September 7, 2015

Crime as an Issue

The Los Angeles Times reports:
Catherine Mazzucco awoke recently to pounding on her door.
A friend of her son was standing on the front step, panting. Someone had shot her son, he said.
Mazzucco and her daughter followed panicked screams as they rushed to where Marcus McClendon, 52, was on the sidewalk, lying in his own blood. He died soon after the shooting.
“I never thought someone would come for my son,” his mother said.
His shooting three weeks ago in South Los Angeles was one of 39 homicides in the city last month, making it the deadliest August since 2007, when 41 people were slain.

Until now, homicides had remained flat through much of the year — a bright spot as other violent and property crime rose throughout the city. But after last month's killings — fueled largely by gang violence in South L.A. — homicides are up citywide by nearly 7% since the start of the year, compared with the same period in 2014, according to LAPD data.
Across the city, 185 people had been killed through Saturday. And at least one other homicide occurred since then: the shooting of a 26-year-old homeless man on the Venice boardwalk early Sunday.
The violence has alarmed residents and left police scrambling to send more officers to the worst-hit areas.
Lloyd Green writes at The Daily Beast:
Suddenly, the Democrats are playing defense as our cities have turned into shooting galleries. Against a blizzard of crime videos, Hillary Clinton’s exhortation in April, that “we should make sure every police department in the country has body cameras to record interactions between officers on patrol and suspects,” is looking both na├»ve and opportunistic.

Oh, and in case anyone forgot, it was Bill Clinton, who as president, toughened the federal anti-crime laws that have now led to “mass incarceration.” It was also Bill Clinton who left the 1992 campaign trail to preside over the execution of Ricky Ray Rector for the murder of Robert Martin, a Conway, Arkansas police officer. Heck, it was Clinton who took Sister Souljah to task for advocating that blacks kill whites.
To be sure, crime has real sway as a campaign rallying cry. As John J. Pitney Jr., a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, told the Daily Beast, “When crime goes up, it’s not the economic and social elites who notice first. They live in nice suburbs, gated communities, or well-guarded apartment buildings.”
Rather, according to Pitney, it’s the folks scraping by who first feel crime’s sting. The “the people on the front line are the people who aren’t so well off. They live in the neighborhoods where you have to watch your step. And they’re the ones least able to bear the consequences of a burglary or robbery.”