Wednesday, November 7, 2007

"All Hands On Deck" Goes Down With Ship

Last weekend, the D.C. police chief implemented an initiative increasing the police presence on the streets. The results:

Violence in the District continued to rise last weekend despite an increase in arrests and police presence during the department's latest "All Hands on Deck" crime-fighting initiative, police data show.

Most available officers were working the streets Friday to Sunday, making 481 arrests, many for minor offenses. Yet the city recorded two homicides, three sexual abuse cases, 31 robberies and 26 assaults over the three days -- a total of 62 violent crimes, compared with 34 for the same three-day stretch last year.

"The numbers aren't looking good," said D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), head of the public safety committee. "This says that 'All Hands on Deck' is more about catching law breakers than deterring crime."

Of the 481 arrests, made between 12:01 a.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Sunday -- the time period for the "All Hands on Deck" effort -- 119 arrests involved drug offenses, 101 were for traffic violations, 58 for disorderly conduct and 43 for prostitution. There was one arrest after a homicide, four in connection with robberies or carjackings, and 15 involving assaults.


Crime is on the rise in the District, with 165 homicides so far this year -- just four fewer than the homicide total for all of 2006.

Less than 13% of the arrests made this weekend were for violent crimes, whereas more than a third were arrested for completely voluntary recreational activity (drugs and prostitution).

In a city as violent as this one, you would think that arresting people for the sake of "being tough on crime" should take a back seat to actually concentrating on bringing the violators of others' rights to justice. Instead, however, the police concentrate on "moral" violations which reflect the upstanding nature of this pious capital of ours.

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