Topic: urban issues
Three homicides in short order may have shown Mayor Duffy’s surge – I mean “zero tolerance” police sweep – for what it is: a socially as well as fiscally expensive exercise in futility. Or worse: a show of force that will pack the courts, and maybe the jails, largely with people of color, and will end up fueling the cycle of alienation and oppression.
As with the Bush “surge” in Iraq, the Rochester gambit can’t help but pacify this or that neighborhood temporarily. But what then? Does anyone, even Bob Duffy, believe that a nightly blitzkrieg will alter the conditions that produce urban crime? I suppose the aim is to keep a lid on things till the weather is cold enough to keep people off the sidewalks and corners. Then the boys in blue can declare victory, and the rest of us can watch the homicide rate seek its level.
Just tonight the city council gave Duffy the $2.5 million he requested to keep the sweep going a little longer. What worthwhile programs will therefore take a hit so the cops can keep pulling overtime?
I intend to cover this business in the next Justicia, the newsletter I edit for the Judicial Process Commission. (Go to rocjpc.org for past issues, etc.) In the meantime, please join me in frustration.
I remember Bob Duffy when he was the liaison to a police-community relations coalition that included my employer, the Peace and Justice Education Center, JPC, Montgomery Neighborhood Center, and other groups. He didn’t impress me as a dragnet type then; nor did the coalition ever suggest the kind of strategy he’s pursuing now.