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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Snide remarks hide lack of understanding

A few commenters posted about a perceived conflict they saw in interviews with the Mayor and the Chief of Police. They want to see one as “right” and the other “wrong.”

Review of the use of statistics is in order. Two models:

Two Paradigms

First, a new grad is offered two jobs, one in Detroit and one in Austin. She notes the demographics of a younger population in Austin and anticipates a great nightlife and lots of single, active people like her. The demographics for Detroit suggest an older population, high unemployment, and a very high violent crime rate.

Would she be in more danger in Detroit? Probably, but that’s not proven. (For example, if she’s lived in Detroit she knows where not to go, what not to say, and how to reduce her risks.) The relative danger posed by Detroit is a reasonable assumption, although it may not be factual.

A young man also received two job offers, one from a firm in Palo Alto, and one from a firm in Long Beach. As he follows up with each he asks for a career projection; “where will I be in three years? What HR programs do you have to guide my career?”

So the woman used assumptions based upon demographic information to make a choice. The young man analyzed policies and statistics to get an accurate appraisal of the odds he faced in his “upward mobility.” They had different information needs for their decisions.

Mayor and Chief need different info

Similarly, the Mayor observed that, as both the early release of prisoners (through new sentencing guidelines and plea bargaining) (Release) and more-dangerous prisoners released from local jails paralleled  increased crime complaints in Costa Mesa. His responsibility as an executive is to anticipate needs for resources. He’s satisfied that the parallel increases, although not proof, indicate that increased resource needs are likely.

The Chief of Police needs specific data with clearly-demonstrated causes to plan solutions.  Declaring a “diagnosis” of the cause and developing the “plan of care” to address it would be premature if the cause is not proven. (Medical Problem solving)

For example, if the cause of a crime uptick turned out to be more homeless people in the City, task forces monitoring and addressing the early-release prisoners would be futile and a waste of resources. Or, if he discovered that increased violence resulted from timid officer contacts he could institute training to change officer image and behavior. He needs specific causes to formulate specific plans.

Getting the data

As more parolees are checked for compliance, more problem motels are inspected and more criminals are identified and arrested, he can analyze how many police contacts and arrests involved the locally-released dangerous criminals. He needs specific information to make specific plans.

Different needs, with Mayor Righeimer and Chief Gazsi both collecting and
using information appropriately for their needs.

Insults and snide remarks do nothing but define the commenter.(Insults define insulter)

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