Why This Blog?

The aim of this blog is to fit into the blogosphere like the bracingly tart taste of yogurt fits between the boringly bland and the unspeakably vile.

All comments will be answered if their author provides contact info.


I have no sponsoring group(s) or agencies, and I owe no allegiance to any candidate or group.

(C) Copyright 2012 DenRita Enterprises

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Don't confuse me with facts, I want more cops

Science is ignored in debate about City affairs. The Council’s Budget Study Session Tuesday afternoon was a reminder of that.

But first, we’ll note two events--without comment. 

A frequent speaker was “appalled and opposed.” She was appalled by the low turnout – which seems to imply low interest among Costa Mesans – in the budget hearing. She, as usual, opposed something; this time it was the funds allocations in the proposed budget. She departed the chambers before the allocations had been debated.

And, the Mayor frequently reminds speakers at Council meetings that the answer to their question was in the staff study that accompanies the agenda. This time the reminder went to a Council Member.

Tell me the ratio of apples to chickens

Later, a Council member doggedly pursued numbers about, apparently, the number of “full-time-equivalent” positions our consulting expenses represented. In other words, how many more people would have City jobs if we didn't use consultants?

Our consultants work under different pay schemes, don’t enjoy City benefits, especially retirement benefits, and do jobs outside the job descriptions of current employees. So, the number of City employees that the use of consultants displaced would be a meaningless number. We could compute just as productively how many firefighters that each City swimming pool displaces in the budget.

To their credit the Finance Director and CEO kept their cool. We would have been tempted to provide a number which couldn't be disproved or effectively disputed. Let’s call it 47.3 FTEs work done by the consultants this fiscal year. Or, 113.74 if you prefer.

I like their uniforms

A Council member ignored the science behind crime control to demand “more police, we need more police because our crime rate increased.” Studies suggest that involving the community reduces crime, and adding police officers beyond a minimum effective number does not. For example, Oakland and Detroit have both high crime rates and high police to populace ratios.

What has been shown to work, through statistical analysis, pilot programs and broad grant programs, is community involvement.

What works

Community pride, often triggered by removing blight, erasing graffiti, 
and rebuilding the infrastructure, decreases crime rates. The concept often carries the label of “the broken window theory,” based on James Q. Wilson’s studies around 1982. The concepts have been expanded and extended, as well as tested, since then.

For crime reduction, good police leadership, effective intra-officer communication and patrols focused on crime niduses have good support in Police Science. So, Chief Gazsi’s leadership and management, our graffiti removal, the code enforcement, and especially infrastructure rebuilding are major factors in crime control.

Rational approach works best 

If valid, peer reviewed studies indicate one approach works, and experience in Costa Mesa, Oakland, and throughout the U.S. suggest another doesn't, why insist on using the approach that hasn’t worked

No comments:

Post a Comment