In Baltimore, if you call the police for help, they will come. However, it seems, less and less, they won’t see a crime if you don’t call and when they do show up on a call they are less likely to do anything about it other than the minimum required. “But the number of potential violations they reported seeing themselves dropped by nearly half. It has largely stayed that way ever since.” This happened and continues to happen in the wake of the riots that took place after the Freddy Gray case.
I’m frankly not sure if this piece is an article or an editorial. One is news the other opinion. I suspect the latter when I read things like, “What’s happening in Baltimore offers a view of the possible costs of a remarkable national reckoning over how police officers have treated minorities.” This is such a blanket statement. Out of the millions and millions of police contacts that occur each year the vast majority of them go smoothly and without incident. Yet this paragraph makes it sound like police all over all the time are mistreating minorities.
There are problems with some locations and some officers. But there is no indication statistically speaking that this is widespread or systemic across the nation. Police should be held accountable for things they do wrong. I have no issue with that happening. However, the jumping to conclusions that has occurred and that has produced riots have affected officers who are, after all, human. Though I don’t agree with the specific way he said it, I agree with the sentiment of Session’s comment when he said, “If you want crime to go up, let the ACLU run the police department.”
I disagree with that in that I see a benefit to the ACLU and the police being held accountable. I don’t want them to stop when a real wrong has been done. So to phrase it like he did puts an emphasis on attempted reform that I am against. But the sentiment is that when you falsely accuse officers, when you don’t give them the right of due process, and take to the streets and burn your neighborhood and police cars, well, then you get the chilling effect you see in Baltimore.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that’s an excuse for officers not to do their job. I’m just saying I understand where they are coming from and why police activity has slowed. The more an officer does the greater the officer’s chance of getting sucked into an event that burns his city to the ground or places him in a court room defending himself for something that an internal investigation ruled was in policy and within the law.
Baltimore’s murder rate reached an all-time high last year. Before that happened, police there suddenly stopped noticing crime.