Wednesday, February 20, 2013

NO ARREST IS EASIER:  While I'm finishing up my recap of the last episode, take a peek at this February 7, 1994 Baltimore Sun article by David Simon:
In 1992, 18,779 arrests costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in police work and court time resulted in 956 adult offenders going to prison for any time at all....Nevertheless, much of the Baltimore Police Department's effort in the war on drugs remains geared to arresting street-level violators. The rate of drug arrests in Baltimore remained nearly three times the national average for cities of comparable size in 1991, the last year in which such statistics are available.

Why? Many reasons, say veteran commanders and officers, not the least of which is the simple, overriding fact that no arrest is easier than a street-level lock-up for drugs....

By contrast, other U.S. cities managed to reduce overall crime by de-emphasizing street-level drug work and concentrating instead on felony investigation and the targeting of violent offenders. In New York, for example, former Police Commissioner Lee Brown ordered the department to reduce 90,000 annual drug arrests by a third, freeing officers for other things. Crime fell by 4 percent.

In Baltimore, however, police were busy arresting a larger percentage of the population for drugs than any other major American city, save for Atlanta -- but to little ultimate effect. Few were jailed, and no established drug market was cleared or closed for more than a day or two. In fact, the number of drug corners began to multiply.

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