5 July 2005

The price of keeping the community safe far outweighs civil liberty issues

Police installed video surveillance cameras around town and saw Chicago's murder rate fall to its lowest level in four decades.
The city is employing new technology that recognizes the sound of a gunshot within a two-block radius, pinpoints the source, turns a surveillance camera toward the shooter and places a 911 call.

Welcome to crime-fighting in the 21st century.

"Instead of just having eyes, you have the advantage of both eyes and ears," said Bryan Baker, chief executive of Safety Dynamics LLC, the company in suburban Oak Brook that makes the systems.

The technology isn't just gaining favor in Chicago, where 30 of the devices have already been installed in high-crime neighborhoods alongside video surveillance cameras. Baker says dozens more installations will follow.

Soon, all public space will be monitored by cameras. And increasingly, the monitoring of these cameras will be automated.


I support this technology too, and read the article also. But ask yourself Naum, the question I asked myself:

Is the fall in crime truly because of the cameras, or is it more because of a nationwide drop in crime?

The best way to test this hypothisis is to see if a city the size of Chicago, if without the cameras, the crime rate dropped precariously too.

New York has also had a sharp drop in crime, as the nation as a whole.

A more plausible reason for the drop in crime, maybe because of legalized abortion.

I am no abortion advocate or supporter, I am neutral on the subject:

Trav, I don't know for certain, but one thing I do beleive is that it means greater liklihood that if crime is committed, the perp will be caught.

Also, I am only in support of the this technology IF there is 2 way accountability, that is, the public should all be able to share in the monitoring process, not just an annointed elite.
I agree with your comments.

My only concern is that the contention that crime is at a 40 year low BECAUSE of the cameras MAYBE falacious.

What north eastern cities are roughly the same size as Chicago? Have they had the same drop in crime as Chicago without the cameras?

Chicago, the third largest american city has 2,799,050 people as of 1999.
Philadelphia has a population of 1,417,601 the fifth largest city (as of 1999).


Could a statician accuratly compare the two cities crime rates over 40 years, to deduce if the cameras truly affected Chicago crime, as the article claims, despite a difference of population of 1.3 million?

From a very cursorary look on the internet, there seems to be a major drop in crime in Philly too. This seems to fit into the nationwide drop in crime.

Could we compare New York (population 7,428,162) with Chicago? New York also has had a signifigant drop in crime.

I really don't know--just a thought...I seriously think I should have gone into sociology. I like the subject so much more than law...Hopefully you find this question as interesting as I do...

Naum wrote:
"I don't know for certain, but one thing I do beleive is that it means greater liklihood that if crime is committed, the perp will be caught"

Possibly, that seems to make sense on its face.
"A more plausible reason for the drop in crime, maybe because of legalized abortion."

Crime Statistics
The crime rate in the United States was lower in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, when abortion was illegal. Crime then started increasing prior to the legalization of abortion, and the minor decrease we have seen recently is a small drop when compared to the initial increase. If abortion prevents crime by reducing the number of potential criminals, as the study suggests, then why was the crime rate lower for many years prior to the legalization of abortion?

In addition, statistics show that much of the drop in crime isn't within the "post-Roe" age range. For instance, according to FBI statistics, the murder rate for 14 to 17-year-olds in 1997 was 94 percent higher than it was for 14 to 17-year-olds in 1984. Yet, during that same time period, the murder rate for 25 to 34-year-olds (those born prior to Roe) has dropped 27 percent. (source: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bj...)

The murder rate for 14 to 17-year-olds during 1993 (born post-Roe between 1975 and 1979) was 3.6 times that of the children who were 14 to 17 years old in 1984 (born pre-Roe 1966 to 1970). In contrast, over the same time span the murder rate for those 25 and over (all born prior to Roe) dropped 6 percent. (source: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bj...)

Probably the most significant drop in crime was seen between the years of 1993 and 1997, when Child Abuse and Suicide
Interestingly enough, legalized abortion was supposed to dramatically reduce child abuse. "Every child a wanted child!" abortion proponents cried. "Unwanted children are abused! Abortion will help end child abuse!" Aside from the fact that killing someone because they might be abused isn't very logical, child abuse has increased since the legalization of abortion. The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect indicates that the prevalence of child abuse is increasing, and the increases are "significant." From 1986 to 1993, the incidence of physical abuse rose 42% (97% under the revised Endangerment Standard), physical neglect rose 102% (163% E.S.), sexual abuse rose 83% (125% E.S.) and emotional neglect rose 333% (188% E.S.). This study did not conclude that better reporting was the reason for the increases:
"Although the rise in the population of endangered children may stem from improved recognition of more subtle cues from the child by community professionals, the rise in the number of serious injuries probably reflects a real increase in child abuse and neglect because it cannot be plausibly explained on the basis of heightened sensitivity." (source: http://www.childabuse.com/f...)

The study cited parental substance abuse, not the "unwanted" status of the child, as the major factor contributing to increases in abuse.

According to a study by Prevent Child Abuse America, child abuse reporting levels rose 41% between 1988 and 1997. This study did attribute greater public awareness and willingness to report as reasons for the sharp increase. However, the levels rose 1.7% between 1996 and 1997, despite the level of public awareness remaining relatively constant over a one-year period. (source: http://www.childabuse.com/5...)

Suicide rates are also up. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in our country today, and is now the third leading cause of death among teenagers. (Psychiatry: Education's Ruin (Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, 1995), p. 10) Should we conclude then, that legalized abortion causes suicide, because the rate of suicide has increased?

The study also assumes that we ultimately know the fate of millions of people who died before they even had a chance to live. How do we know that those aborted children would definitely become criminals? Because their mothers were often single, poor, or a minority? That entire assumption, that abortion "killed off" the "poor and the minorities" -- the "troublemakers" -- is classist and racist. This basically assumes that poor single mothers will raise criminals. What an encouraging thing to tell young, unwed mothers! The study also states that those aborted are "the ones who are most likely to have been unloved by their mothers." So we now are to assume that if your mother might not "love you" you are destined to be a criminal? And what does this say about mothers with unplanned pregnancies -- that they will all be such horrible mothers that their children are destined to become criminals?

How do we know that many of the millions of aborted people wouldn't have been productive, law-abiding citizens? How do we know that one of the greatest peacemakers of all time, who would have helped solve the crime problem, wasn't aborted? That's the point -- we don't know. When 40 million lives are wiped out, society does indeed lose criminals, but society also loses peacemakers, scientists, and positive role models.

The causes of violent crime are very complex. Drugs, lack of education, lack of opportunity, relaxed moral standards, lack of respect for your fellow human being -- all play a factor. One could also easily argue that legalized abortion feeds into the crime problem. Abortion teaches us that a person's life is essentially worthless, if the person might be an inconvenience. What does that teach the youth of today -- that a "choice" is more important than life? On the web site Childabuse.com is the statement, "How much a society values its children can be measured by how well their children are treated." Indeed, what does it say when the most helpless among us are seen as the most disposable?

To say simply that legalized abortion has reduced crime ignores the complex factors associated with crime, as well as many current crime statistics, and perpetuates unfounded, race and class-based stereotypes about millions who have died as the result of "choice."
I happen to agree with Naum...I think the diminishing crime rate is due to improvements in TECH, Law enforcement training and techniques which allows criminals to be Identified faster and allows for crimes to be SOLVED rather than not. Of course it could also be because so many people watch CSI and are afraid of leaving DNA everywhere. It seems to me that most criminals are not very bright and get caught because of their own stupidity, it's the smart criminals who scare me, those are the guys who can avoid being caught and many times people donít even know they've been taken until its to late.

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