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September 07, 2006

Comments

The article is disingenuous. Boston with its best in the nation gun laws is currently seeing violent crime at all time highs, while Vermont and New Hampshire both with much looser gun laws has drastically lower per capita violent crime.

You imply that the numbers of firearms in a community relates to higher numbers of violent crime; in fact the quantity of guns has NO affect on the ratio of violent crime. Further areas that have the most draconian gun laws have the highest incidences of violent crime; for example, DC, Chicago, LA, Detroit, Newark, Boston, all place with tremendous violent crime problems and the toughest gun laws in the country.

Thank you for commenting Jeff. You make some very interesting points. However, I did not mean to imply anything regarding state gun laws and their relation to crime rates. I believe that is a separate issue. Operation Cease-Fire is not a gun law, but rather a tactic implemented by law enforcement to curb gang violence. It has only been implemented in cities with high rates of gun crime in the past, but it seemed to hail some success in those particular cities.

The fact that Boston's violent crime rate seems to be on the rise again makes me wonder: Is Operation Cease-Fire still in effect there?

And what of Oakland's violent crime rate? In the month and a half since Operation Cease-Fire was implemented, has there been any reduction in violent crime?

Perhaps someone from one of those cities could weigh in as to the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of the strategy?

I live in Oakland, and am involved in a brand new neighborhood watch, (which is also a program with a good track record). The cease-fire program holds a lot of promise, and I'm looking forward to see how well it's implemented here in oakland, where the cops are totally overwhelmed thanks to political issues and mismanagement of funds at city hall. I have a feeling that it will proabably be several months before a measurable effect can be assessed however.

One of the issues it directly attacks is the feeling of alienation that a lot of these kids feel, which gives them an internal carte-blanche to misbehave to whatever degree. It's also a common sense approach which has frequently been neglected with the politicization of crime. "Get tough" doesn't actually work for the most part, it just sounds good politically.

Crime is a function of economics and lack of social services, not a lack of deterrence. Realistically, you can't deter enough in an open and free society to stop all crime and maintain justice. Deterrence has it's role of course, but to focus on it to the exclusion of all other social management mechanisms is insane.

Social programs are also more effective than guns, despite appearances and emotional aspects that they seem to solve (fear and anger) and tend to cause less tragedy. And by the way, I'm a gun owner, I'm just rational about it.

-Jay

Thanks for commenting Jay. Operation Cease-Fire does indeed try to attack the "feeling of alienation" that a lot of juveniles feel. I think advocates of the program are hoping that these juveniles can be convinced that the communities in which they live really do see them, notice their actions, and want them to contribute to society rather than the crime rate. You are right that we will probably have to wait months to actually guage the effectiveness of this program, but we all hope that your city sees a drop in violent crime just as Boston did in the nineties.

You also mentioned the Neighborhood Watch program, which NCPC promotes. We believe that this program is another great way to promote social cohesion, and to unite communities to drive out crime. Find resources and publications about Neighborhood Watch on our website, http://www.ncpc.org/Topics/Neighborhood_Watch/index.php.

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