The roots of crime

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The Chron has figured out how to solve Oakland's crime problem, in one sentence.

Here it is:

Critics said police don't address the roots of crime, which can be solved with greater social services and educational opportunities.

That is a thing of beauty, right there.

Reminds me of an old college friend who went and got himself a Ph.D in criminology, and when he was passing through town, we had drinks, and I asked him: What does a doctor of criminology do? His response: We study the causes of crime.

So I requested that he enlighten me with his academic wisdom; what, I said, are the causes of crime? He paused for a moment to gather his thoughts, then said:

"Poverty."

That's a lot of book-learning there. And now "critics" say that crime can be addressed by social services and educational opportunities. Remarkable.

An overwhelming majority of the Oakland City Council approved the deal to hire a consulting firm that will bring on William Bratton to help the cops get a handle on the horrible violent crime problem in the city. It's worth noting, for the record, that Bratton got his fame (and, given his price tag, his apparent fortune) with programs like Stop and Frisk, which is still going on in New York even thought a judge agrees it's unconstitutional. Oakland isn't implementing Stop and Frisk, at least not now. but this sort of aggressive policing is Bratton's M.O., so I don't think the debate over the proper role of cops in the community is over.

And if you think Stop and Frisk is a dandy way to fight crime, check out this stunning video of what it's done in New York: