Favorite

Hire ... more ... cops 

2006_9-5_17-0-15-364.jpg

The best contribution to date in the Little Rock mayoral race is a simple two-line graph produced by Jesse Mason’s campaign.

One line charts the number of violent crimes in the city from 1993 through 2004. The other line indicates the number of police officers on duty during those years.

Sure enough, crime goes down when there are more police personnel and increases when the officer ranks are diminished.

That’s actually an understatement. The lines are almost perfectly inversely proportional, leading to an unavoidable conclusion.

It seems like a rather obvious one: more cops lead to fewer crimes. Indeed, there is no shortage of studies to support that theory, and many cities have reduced criminal activity by adding more law enforcement officers. New York City is probably the most notable recent example, with a dramatic 60 percent drop in its crime rate during the 1990s as the police corps grew by several thousand.

Of course, there is conflicting evidence. Almost 10 years ago, Washington, D.C. had the highest number of police officers per capita and still had the third-highest crime rate in the country. And some have attributed New York’s success to other factors, including an overall crime reduction nationwide.

But let’s return to the Little Rock numbers, which are available on Mason’s campaign website at masonformayor.com/issues/crime.htm. The numerical parallels are too consistent to ignore.

For instance, while the city’s falling crime rate during the 1990s occurred simultaneously with the general national improvement, the number of violent crimes in Little Rock actually ticked upward from 1999 to 2000 when the number of police officers was reduced for the first time in six years. Then, when an extra patrolman was added in 2001, crime went down again. And so it goes, in almost perfect proportion, suggesting that external influences are less significant.

Furthermore, since such statistical correlations are so rare in social science, it’s worth employing the old Occam’s Razor maxim, which stipulates that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

With that in mind, Mason uses the data to make a proposal: “In 1993, there were 5,889 violent crimes in the city and 395 sworn police officers (1 for every 465 citizens). In 1999, there were 559 police officers in the city (1 for every 328 citizens). … At current levels we have one police officer for every 366 citizens. I want to see this number get down to around 300 in the next four years. At the current levels, we would need to increase our police force to approximately 600.”

That is impeccable logic, and whoever is elected mayor should push to enact Mason’s idea for a 600-person police force.

Such a move could also signal a move toward two important principles sorely lacking in government at all levels today: Prioritizing basic functions and responsibilities, and employing fact-based analysis to formulate policy.

After all, violent crime is an existential threat, and among the city’s most fundamental purposes is providing public safety. As we get ready to vote on a sales tax increase to bail out an incompetent county government that could not prepare or execute a plan to provide adequate jail space, we should demand that our future leaders put first things first, anticipate problems and offer solutions that make sense.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Warwick Sabin

  • Helena's disappearing buildings

    Preservationists hope to slow demolitions.
    • Mar 22, 2007
  • Trailers headed to Dumas

    Gov. Mike Beebe issued the following statement earlier today: Although this decision by FEMA to deny emergency funds to Desha County defies common sense, Arkansas will take care of its own people.
    • Mar 9, 2007
  • Youth Ranch robbed, vandalized

    According to a press release we just received: The Donald W. Reynolds Campus of the Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranches (The Ranch) located near Fort Smith was vandalized overnight Thursday.  Items stolen during the break-in included all of the children’s saddles, food, tools and supplies from The Ranch’s carpentry shop and all equipment from its auto shop.  An investigation is underway with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
    • Mar 9, 2007
  • More »

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Warwick Sabin

  • Trickle-up theory

    Through thick and thin, there has always been one group of dedicated Americans whose support for President George W. Bush has been unwavering: The wealthy.
    • Mar 8, 2007
  • Time to go

    Tough questions face us in Iraq and it's time to confront them directly.
    • Mar 1, 2007
  • Plugged in

    One reason why the South remained solidly Democratic during the mid-20th century was the enduring gratitude to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who brought electricity to the poor, rural parts of the region. According to one historical account, “Althou
    • Feb 22, 2007
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • The first commandment directly contradicts the first amendment.

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Arkyguy, try Numbers 31:17-18.

      Bishop?

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • And I quote: "Sounds like maybe some of those descriptors hit a little close to…

    • on July 21, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation