Local crime rate: Is it up or down?
This article was extremely inflammatory to me. As a criminologist, it is insulting and it is ridiculous garbage. Mr. Robinson, do you homework please.
Chief Deputy Haines and Prof. Hough are misleading the public with the interpretation of the statistics. First, Chief Deputy Haines is trying to look at the long term statistics to say you are safer today than in past decades. The problem here is that he is off point. The focus of all this is explicitly the time Sheriff Morgan has been in office. That is the time in question. Since he was sworn in, crime has been out of step with dropping crime rates within the state and within the country overall. The percentages have been disproportionately higher consistently throughout his administration. The attrition rate (loss of deputies) is directly correlated to this rate. Less officers = more crime.
The next misleading thing Haines throws out is about total arrests. Total arrests is no indication of crime. How many arrests were thrown out, improper or even resulted in numerous crimes being committed under that 1 arrest? He is trying to confuse you with interchanging 2 terms that are not the same.
Moving on, the following graph shows the God’s honest truth. Escambia County (from 2009-2015) has a higher crime rate than the state average—consistently. As for Dr. Hough’s suggestion that the .1-.3 percent increase is insignificant, in real numbers, that.1-.3 percent accounts for 200-250 more violent crimes. That is significant in Escambia County.
Now to address Dr. Hough’s claim that 2/3 of all crimes are committed indoors. The semantics here are ALL crime vs violent or street crime. His statement is about all crime. It is misleading by throwing in other crimes to diminish the statistical value. To make Dr. Hough’s 2/3 statement true, you must include white collar crimes such as embezzlement, fraud and identity theft. Those are not considered “violent”or street crimes and have no place in the statistics. Removing those crimes takes the veracity out of his assertion that 2/3 of crimes (that we are talking about) are committed indoors.
Subsequently, having directed patrolling (patrolling in high crime areas routinely, maintaining a police presence) has always positively affected crime rates. People are less likely to be the victim of a crime in the areas where there is more of a threat of incarceration. This is not rocket science. This concept can be reduced to simple human interactions. When you take your eye off of a kid, will they take a cookie they know they are not supposed to have? Possibly. Will they do it while you are there? Less likely. Reducing the opportunity for crime in the areas where it is most likely to occur is the fundamental cure to high crime.
Please don’t take my word for it. In Journal of Human Sciences, Vol 3 from April 2016, Murat Ozkan discusses the conclusion to his research which boils down to exactly this point. The article is called, “A paradigm shift in policing: Crime reduction through problem oriented policing”. The main high point of this article is that policing that focuses on people and their motivations for crime, doesn’t work; focusing on reducing the opportunity for crime to occur (ie locking doors, having police presence, proper lighting in high crime areas etc) works. This is an old concept that is still the most valuable approach to reducing crime.
Sheriff Morgan is trying to put the responsibility of crime on society. He does this by implying citizens don’t control their kids.Then he is implementing numerous neighborhood watch programs trying to make communities the police. If that worked, he shouldn’t have a job to begin with. People with the authority to put other people in jail are more compelling than people without that power, who potentially endanger themselves to try to stop a crime in progress. That is just good sense. It is denigrating for him to say “your bad ass kids cause crime and don’t call the police, fix it yourself”. That is the line of crap he is laying out.
Finally, Prof. Hough claiming that 2/3’s of all crime happens indoor is lumping in many other crimes than we are talking about here. Many crimes initiate out of doors. What crimes (relevant to the problem in Escambia County ) happen outdoors? Typically, prostitution, car jackings/theft, car burglaries and drug deals happen in open areas. Cervantes Street is known for a reason. Very few car burglaries, which are the big problem here, happen to cars within a parking structure or garage. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, most crimes happen to people transitioning between activities. In a car, leaving work or the mall, or even leaving home to go to work, school or what have you is where you are most likely to be victimized. That is the crime that can be reduced by police presence.
Also, be aware that according to senior deputies within the ECSO, there is a skewing of these statistics. Deputies have been told to code or report crimes with the least severe code they can. Making a burglary a petit theft for instance would keep that crime off the statistical radar. Sir David is shifty like that.
In the end, people feel the change in safety. More guns are sold; more padlocks or additional security items are flying off the shelves. This isn’t because they feel safer. Also, Eric Haines is doing the community a disservice by skirting the issues and misrepresenting the facts. He is still trying to justify his own inadequacy as Chief Deputy.
Moral of the story: Don’t let anybody try to throw statistics out to convince you one thing is true when you know it is not true. Several different organizations have labeled Escambia County more dangerous than it should be. The talking heads of the ECSO can’t explain that away. (Mostly because it reflects badly on them personally). And by the way, no billboard will make you safer either.
By the way, Mr. Robinson, you should fact-check the people you try to make look smart. You are slanting the information being delivered just as much as the Chief Deputy. You discredit yourself.