Just putting more police on the street won’t work.
By Jeff Thomas
The response to the uptick in car burglaries in NOLA is the definition of insanity. Yet understandably people are worried. To put it mildly, losing a vehicle disrupts a person’s life. Having a your vehicle stolen could mean anything from suddenly too costly insurance premiums to losing your job and even losing housing. Something has got to be done about this.
Citizens blame the police for not doing enough. Men are arming themselves and sleeping with one eye open. The police say despite a “manpower shortage” they are beefing up patrols. And the NOPD says people should just lock their car doors.
What do we do for people with little training, fewer people skills, not great work ethic and youthful ignorance?
Almost daily police release videos of young black men walking around neighborhoods and pulling door handles and quickly rolling away in somebody’s vehicle. Two minutes and your life is turned upside down. Also, this notion of young black and criminality is reinforced. See young black men and call the police or get your gun. But protect your property at all costs from these hooligans.
Make no mistake. Most of these acts appear to be committed by young black men. So, what is the best solution to the problem? Police stings? More patrols? Indiscriminate shooting at the mere sight of 4 black men walking in your neighborhood?? Recently, shots were fired by a car thief when yelled at by the vehicle owner. This escalation to violence is really dangerous. It skips a simple solution.
Our citizens recently passed a millage to support parks and recreation. This was an important decision by the citizens of the city. It reflects an understanding of the importance of a holistic approach to making our city a great place to work and live. This tax rededication was passed by ¾ of the public. People get it. We have to pay our hard-earned money to invest in stuff that is important and expensive. Even though computing and quantifying the actual benefits of good parks and recreation is kinda like catching wind.
Similarly, investing in a well-publicized, universally recognized jobs training and placement program designed with life skills training for young disenfranchised young black men would result in fewer guys walking the streets late at night puling car handles.
The historical record of discrimination and oppression in America is clear. NOLA has been no exception; in fact, policies like non-unanimous juries, overzealous policing and complicit DA’s have been the rule in this town. NOLA is the epicenter of mass incineration. Yet crime is constant in our city.
An investment in our people like the one we made in parks and recreation could stop these young guys from walking down your street and pulling your car handle. You can sleep with both eyes closed. For only $25 a year.