As much as I tried to take the conversation to the waste in the New Jersey budget today on the show, there was a constant pull from the callers to get back to the conversation of race and law enforcement.
Here’s my quick take. The false narrative being pushed by the Black Lives Matter movement enabled by many politicians and the media is harming the very people that they claim to represent. Murder among black Americans is high and rising. For nearly twenty years the crime rates in our cities was dropping precipitously creating opportunity for families to live without the constant fear of being subject to horrific street violence. The dramatic increase started under Rudy Giuliani’s leadership in New York City, employing police policies known as “Broken Windows”, “CompStat” and “Stop & Frisk.” By the time Rudy left office murders had dropped from a high of 2,600 in 1990 to less than 900 in 2001. Rapes, robberies and assaults all way down showing a return of order to the city. The trend was picked up in other cities across America and for the next two decades crime dropped by nearly 50%.
Then Ferguson. A white cop named Darren Wilson is assaulted by a man who had just been caught on a store surveillance camera stealing cigars and strong-arming the clerk. It took only hours for the narrative to start that the young man was killed by the officer as he attempted to surrender and begged for his life. Then the evidence came into play. Turns out that the man assaulted the officer, went for his gun and was shot as he charged Wilson. No matter, the political movement was spawned and the facts only got in the way. OVer the past couple years, police have been under a microscope for every interaction with the public and new videos continue to surface showing aggressive white cops and black citizens. What’s often missing is the context.
Not just the simple stats as reported by news outlets like the Washington Post that more unarmed white and hispanic suspects are killed by police than blacks. Or that more than half of the criminal suspects are black. Nor that 80% of the crime in America is gang related and more than 82% of the gang members are minorities.
I was challenged today on Chasing News by Hank Flynn who stated that there is no way for me to understand the issue because I’m…white. Maybe he missed the part of the conversation that my colleague Sibile Marcellus had a similar point to mine.
America doesn’t have a race problem in the way that the Black Lives Matter movement would have you believe. The problem is a civil rights crisis in our cities where black families are denied the same access to a safe and prosperous environment because gang violence is on the rise. How can a society move forward if less than three-quarters of the kids in a major city don’t finish school? How can a community thrive when unemployment is 50% higher than the national average?
Cities need infrastructure, jobs and public safety. Let’s stop making every viral video showing an ugly interaction a testament to a much bigger problem. Instead the political and community leaders should focus on the much more serious problem of the blood spilling across American cities. Most often young black men dying at the hands of other young black men.
We have a rising crime problem in America. Remember, there are nearly 900,000 law enforcement officers in the US arresting more than 12 million and stopping millions more on the roads every year. The problems that arise from these interactions can be counted in the dozens. As a matter of fact, given the state of medical malpractice lawsuits in America, you might say that cops are better trained and much more effective than medical professionals in carrying out their duties. So the dozens get attention but the very serious immediate problem of murder and violent crime in the cities goes ignored.
What the cities in America need are more cops to patrol the neighborhoods. More interaction with residents. More arrests of suspicious individuals.
One bright spot in this mess that is only exacerbated by claims of racial injustice followed by hurling rocks at police officers, is Camden New Jersey. Chief Scott Thomson has done a remarkable job employing technology and getting his officers in the neighborhood. More patrols and more interaction is winning the day in Camden. Now if we can turn to the education and the employment issues we might have the turnaround city of the year.