Crime data a la carte: and the coming apocalypse

Thanks to brilliant lifecycle planning, the Dayton Police Department is about to lose a ton of senior officers through the “DROP program”– to make matters worse, we’ve also been in a hiring freeze thanks to a Department of Justice deal that’s been trying to address the whiteness of our boys and few girls in blue.

Net result: we’re going to be down to a very low number of officers on the streets– at the exact time when the worst effects of the depression start occurring. With long term unemployment benefits ending, no jobs in sight, and foreclosures still happening in record numbers- we’re looking at possible rioting and a definite increase in property crimes- just so people will be able to eat.

Enter the technology solution: we’ll make the data readily available to the community so they can help us  identify the evil doers among us- primarily in Dayton:

For the first time, Dayton residents and those visiting the city will be able to use a website to find where crimes such as car break-ins, burglaries, arsons and thefts are happening.

Launched Wednesday, July 14, comes as the city is seeing a 4 percent increase in property crimes over last year.

The site is the first of its kind in Montgomery County and gives residents in the city and those in bordering communities such as Oakwood, Riverside, Kettering and Trotwood a sense of crime trends in their neighborhoods, Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl said.

“We want to engage the public and empower people to be an active partner with us,” Biehl said. “Citizens are much more likely to be victims of property crimes versus violent crime and with a good partnership with the community, they can be prevented.”

The purpose of the site is to make property owners more alert and avoid high-crime areas, which will lead to fewer crimes. Biehl said the site will help supplement his shrinking force to police the city.

via Search for crimes in your neighborhood on new city site.

The data is rudimentary, and missing some info- a break-in on July 5 on my street wasn’t reported. And while it may be great for junior detectives, it’s also another tool that Realtors can use to redline neighborhoods: “But, have you seen the crime stats in the Hillcrest neighborhood, you’d be much better in Old North Dayton.” Not exactly what we need, considering property values are still dropping like a rock in Dayton (a friend just bought a house in St. Annes Historic District for $13,000 with a three car carage, 2 story, three bedroom- that’s less than I paid for my house in 1986).

The United States is already locking more people up per capita than any country in the world. The problems are systemic and aren’t going away. Our failed “war on drugs” has been a major contributor to our prison system- while our war on the working class has not (when was the last time you saw a CEO go to jail for ruining his company, firing people, off shoring jobs while stealing the value from the shareholders?)

We’ve created a whole sub-workforce of prison tainted social capital that is being excluded by our mainstream economy, which has created a sub-economy that doesn’t play by the same rules the rest of us. This is not a model of sustainable practices.

Until we value our citizens, our citizens will have little of value left. We can map the bad guys to our hearts content- but when the “bad guys” hit critical mass, there will be no turning back. Our Rome is falling, we just refuse to look at the data and realize that it’s not a micro problem- it’s the elephant in the living room that we can’t deal with.

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