Communities in Crisis

Communities in Crisis:

Rethinking the War on Illegal Drugs, Crime, and Violence.

We agree that murders and violence must stop. However, despite previous efforts, the violence still goes on.  Therefore, we must rethink the war against illegal drugs, crime and violence. So, let us add the following five points for consideration.

First, we must dry up the demand for illegal drugs.  We must acknowledge that it is the selfish purchaser of illegal drugs that is supplying the money for drug dealers to purchase the guns that are shooting our young people.  According to our local news, there were 190,000 calls to purchase illegal drugs to just one gang.  These selfish and irresponsible people who called for drugs are providing the money that supports gangs, drug trafficking, and the purchase of hundreds of guns.  Thus, another avenue for dealing with the problem is to reduce the demand for illegal drugs by arresting, charging. and fining purchasers of the illegal drugs.

Second, the people that turn to crime start off as young children that are not nurtured, do not go to church, are not engaged in interesting learning activities, and are not well taught at home or at school.   Research says that these children can be identified by third grade.  We agree with earlier proposals by some political and educational leaders that call for providing more and better early childhood education.  It makes all the difference in the world for poor children.  In addition, some may talk of militia, tanks, and more police.  But, how about more music and art in our schools?  How about lowering the entrance fees to our museums so that poor families can have more access to knowledge?

Third, let us agree that there is no adequate excuse for violence and criminal activity.    If that is so, let us stop making excuses that embolden miscreants. Though they must be dealt with, poverty and unemployment are not good excuses. Most people that are poor and unemployed do not turn to crime.  We would be better off if we developed a culture of honesty and forgiveness as well as honoring and respecting every person.  This is home teaching.  But, to reach the most disadvantaged children, this character development must also be taught as part of the educational curriculum.

Fourth, we see that some criminals seem to have few good character traits and good moral values.  They have not been taught good values neither at home nor in school.  Unfortunately, some parents and some schools seem to have abdicated their responsibilities for nurturing our children and for giving our children good moral foundations for living good lives.  Thus, we need more research in this area.  How many parents are teaching good character traits and moral values versus how many parents of criminals have taught good character traits and good moral values?  What common sense moral and character values are being taught in the schools in poor communities?  I know the CDC and others can help with the needed research and publication of research regarding crime prevention information.

Fifth, homeowners need to know the real money consequences for tolerating crime in their neighborhood.  Homeowners in high-crime communities lose approximately $50,000 to $100,000 in lost property values.  Though this needs further research, if one compares housing prices in high and low crime areas in adjacent communities, a great difference can be seen in home valuations for the same type of house.  Thus, homeowners lose a large amount of money by not getting involved, by being hostile to police, and by not reporting criminal activities.  In addition, adding more police to control crime costs a great deal of money and thus costs a great deal of money in increased property taxes.  Even renters must pay higher rents in order to compensate for higher property taxes.  Thus, when community members obey the gang propaganda about not snitching, no one wins and everyone loses.

So, we must rethink the war against illegal drugs and gang violence.  Thus, we need more research and fewer excuses and opinions.  I know the CDC and others can help with crime prevention information and the needed research and publication of information.  Perhaps, we can influence the CDC and others to do so.  Hopefully, we can invest more into children and develop better long-term solutions for preventing crime and violence.