Posted on June 14, 2021

Violent Crime Is Spiking. We Must Still Reimagine Public Safety.

The Editorial Board, Washington Post, June 4, 2021

THE INCREASE in violent crime in the United States today puts the most vulnerable citizens in danger — and not only because of the immediate toll of this spate of shootings. The country has been struggling for a year to reimagine public safety beyond policing, and a rise in crime rates threatens to push cities back toward old patterns, imperiling the many overdue experiments in public safety finally taking place. Policymakers should resist.


{snip}Involvement from law enforcement absolutely can have an impact on reducing violent crime. But it isn’t the only intervention that can do so. Past spikes in crime have been met for the most part with more police and more punishing policing, despite a body of research on non-policing interventions that can have significant effects on crime. That has resulted in more division and more inequality, which in turn have led to more crime, as well as a host of other costs too long overlooked: from fostering officer brutality to alienating Black Americans from their government and disengaging them from democracy. The nation cannot afford to make the same mistake this time — not as Americans are finally beginning to build a broader understanding of public safety that could breed better responses {snip}

Already, there’s progress underway. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan contains a little-covered provision investing $5 billion in community violence interventions. {snip} Other innovative ideas, as potent as they are cheap, abound — such as transforming neighborhoods’ physical space by converting vacant lots to parks or refurbishing abandoned buildings. {snip}