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It’s law and order time

Last night there were three crews covering the entire central business district. Just one domestic violence call ties up two of them.

It’s not enough.

There is zero proactive police work being done in Dayton right now thanks to tight budgets and diminished ranks. Even the best police work is hampered by a prosecutor who is more worried about his conviction rate- than his effectiveness at deterring crime. Our judges aren’t much better- handing out light sentences and allowing plea deals to lighten their work load.

Montgomery County has become a play-pen for the mischievous- while the surrounding counties still have a reputation for being tough on crime.

Our county jail is nicer than some cut-rate motels, and considering that when you are incarcerated the taxpayers pick up your health care- some see it as an easy way to get their emergency dental work done.

In the meantime, we’ve still got politicians talking about creating jobs and economic development- while ignoring the costs to business of a half-assed approach to deterring crime.

I’m sitting and writing this in a dark office- not because it’s nighttime, but because some low-life stole my electric meter last night. It’s not expensive enough to cause an insurance claim- but, it is costing lost productivity in terms of work not getting done. The same goes for time spent rectifying the broken window on my girlfriend’s car two weeks ago (we didn’t even make a police report- it was just the back wing window- the car had been ransacked, but nothing was taken. Turns out 4 cars were hit the same way that night in the neighborhood). The window was $150- the time to deal with it was a few more hours.

Just by moving from Kettering to Dayton- a mere 2.5 miles, my girlfriend’s insurance on her car and her renter’s insurance jumped 20%. These are real costs- that factor into “economic development.”

The last time my office was broken into- it disrupted work for almost 3 days. The cost of crime isn’t just the cost of the damage and the theft- it’s the time wasted in dealing with it. If Dayton (greater) wants to do something that will help economic development- the first thing we should be looking at is removing as many of these time-sucks as possible.

For starters, we need a prosecutor who is tough on crime and we need to make the county jail a place you don’t like to stay. Making big rocks into little rocks may not be done efficiently by hand- but it sure makes someone think twice about doing time.

I will say one thing though- DPD responded with a crew before I was even off the phone with DP&L- and the evidence tech was here and gone- before the meter replacement showed up. Maybe if DP&L weren’t paying its CEO a million a year- it could actually afford people to have crews to show up and replace a meter when it gets stolen- but, no, that makes too much sense.

[Added] Three hours later, I have a meter and three days to secure a new cover for the meter box. Apparently, meters are being stolen to go on homes where the power has been shut off. So once again, our crappy economy thanks to the wizards of Wall Street affects those of us on Main Street. [end of addition]

As I sit, listening to the chirp of dying battery backup units, I am thankful that removing the meter wasn’t the prelude of another break-in. I’m not sure that I’m ready to deal with the emotions that comes along with those. But, if I can’t trust the government to keep this neighborhood safe, it makes me think it’s time to take care of things internally. I guess I’ll be setting up a grid of security cameras to complement the alarm systems- but, in reality what I think we really need is to go back to a less kind and less gentle justice system- where low-life criminals experience a good ass whuppin on their way to jail.

Because we can’t afford to keep playing nice, while our livelihood goes slipping out with the meter.

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Tough on crime?  OK, fine, but not at any cost.  Plea bargains save taxpayer money; done intelligently, they’re a good thing.

Emily Weaver

Normally I would say – YES plea bargains are good for moving the system along if it werent for a (now famous) thief in our hood (Huffman Historic) – who also hit South Park (DE you know who I mean…).  Not only has he been given treatment-in-lieu once, twice – but 11 times.  Yep – you read that right ELEVEN times.  At what point do we as citizens say enough?  Well Huffman & South Park did directly to Mat Heck’s office.  The response was shocking.  He was dismissive and down right rude to his electorate.  How is it that this man runs year after year UNOPPOSED.  I would be willing to bet that 5-10% of the population in Dayton is responsible for 90% of the crime.  Just look at what happened over the weekend at the Fair.  Its the same damn thing that happened LAST YEAR!  We have a prosecutor who wants a WIN 100% of the time – well that is easy when you never prosecute the problem (and I am speaking as someone who has sat on 3 juries – you would be shocked at the crap they do deem worthy to prosecute).  I have always said its the “little stuff” (petty theft, vandalism, etc) that drives people out of the city.  Little stuff adds up and you just say enough.


Hopefully whatever bozo stole your meter gets fried when they try to hook it up to their house… Future reproductive activities of said individual would cease…

Another Civil Servant

David – Good article.  very interesting with an entertaining twist.  However, I can’t help but take amusement at the fact that you are sitting in your office, blogging about your lost productivity while you have no electricity.  It seems to me, in my own little warped section of the world (Kettering, that is, where we apparently pay 20% less for renter’s insurance ) that you may have not missed the productivity by getting actual work done!  Ok, call me crazy, maybe I am missing something, but I am just thinking…

John Ise

I’m surly a minority opinion here on this topic, but I don’t think we need to get “tougher” on crime, but smarter.  Per the book, “When Brute Force Fails”. When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment Crime, even after a decade of falling crime rates, remains a huge problem, and a major barrier to improving conditions in poor neighborhoods. Mass incarceration — one American adult in 100 is now behind bars — constitutes a problem in its own right. The challenge we face is how to shrink both problems at the same time. Could the United States have half as much crime and half as many prisoners a decade from now? Yes. But not the way either liberals or conservatives normally think about the problem: not by building more prisons or “fixing root causes,” not through “zero tolerance” or “restorative justice,” not by “winning the drug war” or “ending prohibition,” not with “more guns, less crime” or national gun registration. The current system of randomized severity gets us the worst of all possible worlds: high crime rates and mass incarceration. The alternative approach that could cut both crime and incarceration rates depends on a few principles, simple in concept but requiring effective management: Punishment is a cost, not a benefit. Swiftness and certainty are more effective than severity. A truly convincing threat doesn’t have to be carried out very often. A small proportion of the offenders account for most of the crime. Offenders need to be warned — personally and specifically — what it is that they’re not supposed to do and what will happen if they keep doing it. Concentrating enforcement attention works better than dispersing it. Now that it is possible to monitor the location and drug use of probationers and parolees with portable GPS systems, many — perhaps most — of today’s prisoners could be safely managed in the community instead. But that depends on the willingness and capacity to use short jail stays, delivered quickly and reliably, to sanction probation and parole violations. The primary goal of drug law enforcement should… Read more »

Donald Phillips

Frequent burgleries and higher insurance premiums are among the perquisites of living in the ‘neighborhood of the year’.

Robert Vigh

Legalize all drugs and we could effectively double enforcement on all violent and property crimes since half our resources go towards drug control. It would also drop the # of Americans incarcerated each year by 500,000 or so.  However, a nasty little side effect could be ending the current drug wars in Mexico.
That is working smarter and not harder. Woohoo!

Hudson Rush

Robert,  if drugs are legalized…will they be free?  The fact that drug addicts commit crimes to feed their addictions is not because the can’t find the drugs. It’s because they can’t afford to sustain their habit financially.  Just because drugs are legal, does not mean they will be cheap.

Robert Vigh

Why would the drugs need to be free? First, the # of crimes committed by addicts is not that high (remember to exclude alcohol in any statistics) and two it would not change much seeing as how they already commit crimes now. Are you assuming that the # of drug addicts would increase? It would help if you would elaborate your point.
Drugs would certainly be cheaper. Much cheaper in fact. Removing the guns, dodging police and having a product only served by lawbreakers is certainly, most definitely increasing the price dramatically.
So, I have to assume your main point is that their would be more addicts? Since, people already committing crimes to support their habit would have a zero net effect, because they break the law now. Portugal and Amsterdam are about the only 2 countries to look at and statistics show criminal or not, drug use in the population pretty much stays the same. I would much rather have my resources going against violent crimes.
Besides Hudson, out of fear we have deprived each other of property. Out of fear that you could do something dangerous, we as a society have deprived you of ownership of your own body.

Hudson Rush

“First, the # of crimes committed by addicts is not that high (remember to exclude alcohol in any statistics) and two it would not change much seeing as how they already commit crimes now.”

What do you base this statement off of?

“Are you assuming that the # of drug addicts would increase? It would help if you would elaborate your point.”

I don’t believe it would go up substantially, but if legal more people would experiment. Especially the younger generation.  The more that try an addicting drug, it’s probably safe to say…the more that become addicted.

So, I have to assume your main point is that their would be more addicts? Since, people already committing crimes to support their habit would have a zero net effect, because they break the law now.

My original point is that a large amount of drug addicts, not casual users,  have to resort to crime to fund their habit. The don’t break into homes, cars and garages because  they enjoy it. They do it so they can trade your nice weedeater or GPS for a $20 piece of crack.   Legal drugs will still cost money(even if they are cheaper, another argument)…addicts will still have to support their habits.  I can tell you from experience that the  majority of property crimes are  a result of some drug addict trying to raise 20 or 30 dollars for his  next fix.



I suspect you are incorrect with that statement. From speaking to police about crimes, i.e. thefts from cars, garage or home break-ins, etc, the majority are in fact committed by “druggies” who need to feed their habit.

John Ise

I think Hudson raises valid concerns.  Legalization is not a good policy option, but rather the “least bad” one.  Here’s what The Economist magazine wrote in 1999 (sorry but it is long, but worth the effort):   Failed states and failed policies How to stop the drug wars Prohibition has failed; legalisation is the least bad solution Mar 5th 2009 A HUNDRED years ago a group of foreign diplomats gathered in Shanghai for the first-ever international effort to ban trade in a narcotic drug. On February 26th 1909 they agreed to set up the International Opium Commission—just a few decades after Britain had fought a war with China to assert its right to peddle the stuff. Many other bans of mood-altering drugs have followed. In 1998 the UN General Assembly committed member countries to achieving a “drug-free world” and to “eliminating or significantly reducing” the production of opium, cocaine and cannabis by 2008. That is the kind of promise politicians love to make. It assuages the sense of moral panic that has been the handmaiden of prohibition for a century. It is intended to reassure the parents of teenagers across the world. Yet it is a hugely irresponsible promise, because it cannot be fulfilled. Next week ministers from around the world gather in Vienna to set international drug policy for the next decade. Like first-world-war generals, many will claim that all that is needed is more of the same. In fact the war on drugs has been a disaster, creating failed states in the developing world even as addiction has flourished in the rich world. By any sensible measure, this 100-year struggle has been illiberal, murderous and pointless. That is why The Economist continues to believe that the least bad policy is to legalise drugs.  “Least bad” does not mean good. Legalisation, though clearly better for producer countries, would bring (different) risks to consumer countries. As we outline below, many vulnerable drug-takers would suffer. But in our view, more would gain. The evidence of failure Nowadays the UN Office on Drugs and Crime no longer talks about a drug-free world.… Read more »

Robert Vigh

John, thank you for posting that article. I had not read it before, but had heard most of those elements piece-mealed together from other venues.


“Maybe if DP&L weren’t paying its CEO a million a year- it could actually afford people to have crews to show up and replace a meter when it gets stolen- but, no, that makes too much sense.”

As my great great uncle Benito used always tell us…you usually get the best customer service from government and goverment granted monopolies.