As a social scientist, I have examined various crime reduction strategies. As a resident who has been afforded more opportunities than most of my neighbors, I have observed Nashville's approach to remedying violent crime. Suppression alone will not solve violent crime in inner-city neighborhoods already traumatized by violence and neglect. The police department's zero-tolerance approach, emblematic in its Operation Safer Street initiative, leads to over-policing, distrust and racial profiling.
An alternative to suppression that Nashville may want to consider replicating is the Measure Y initiative (www.measurey.org) in Oakland, Calif. The $20 million annual program offers a holistic approach to crime reduction. This includes the hiring of six dozen police officers, many of whom belong to specialized units dedicated to community policing and school safety instead of suppression. Additional money is allocated for fire safety, emergency service, school-based conflict resolution counselors and community interventionists (respected community activists with ties to gangs and at-risk youth) who canvass high-crime neighborhoods in order to prevent retaliation killings in the aftermath of violence.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
From his vantage around 10th Av., North and Coffee St., professor Sekou Franklin believes that Metro law enforcement should strive beyond suppressing crime and be more proactive in engaging the community in prevention: