Friday, July 06, 2007

Crime Problem? Or Self-Interest from Cops?

Well, maybe...and then, maybe not.

Turns out that the Police Chiefs may have been cherry-picking data...to get more MONEY out of the taxpayers. FoxNews interviews John Lott.

JOHN LOTT, AUTHOR, FREEDOMNOMICS: Well, early 1960's, murder rates were roughly similar to what they are now. Violent crime rates are still much higher now. But during the late 1960's they we want up and they pretty much stayed high during the 70's and 80's. And it was only in the beginning of the 90's that we began to see the drop.

Since the beginning of the 90's, murder rates are about half of what they were at that time. And finally, crime rates are down nearly a third. So we have seen big drops in crimes over the last decade and a half or so.


HERRIDGE: If that is the case, why is it, when we look at big newspapers, like the "New York Times" or "USA Today" and the headlines say that violent crime is up for the second or third year in a row...

LOTT: We had some stories the very end of last year and the beginning of this year, and they were mainly motivated by studies that were put out by something called the Police Executive Research Foundation, which is kind of police chiefs mainly for large cities in the United States. And it was kind of picking data.

...

HERRIDGE: So you are saying that they cherry picked these statistics to inflate them in some respect, to say violent crime is on the way up, therefore we need more federal money?

LOTT: Right, exactly and they wanted other types of laws too that they said would help them with crime. But it was pretty —
I have rarely seen people pick apart data the way that they had in this case.

HERRIDGE: What is the bottom line for you when you look at the over all violent crime rates in this country? Should people be assured that they are in fact safer today than they were let's say 20 years ago or 15 years ago?

LOTT: Yes, I don't think there is any [doubt] that people are much safer now than they were 15 or 20 years ago. The murder rates have gone down by 50 percent. That doesn't mean you still wouldn't like them to go down even further and there are some dangerous parts of country. But if people were worried — or weren't that worried about murders five years ago, I wouldn't be much more worried about them now. It's not like all of a sudden we should be more afraid than we were five years ago.


Rent-seeking by fear tactics.

We've seen the "Washington doesn't send enough money" babble from Tom Barrett, despite the fact that the Milwaukee crime-rate has decreased in the last several years.

Sad that certain 'conservatives' haven't discerned the craven cynicism.

More pointedly: some people automatically swallow anything the Milwaukee Police Union says and automatically reject anything the Teachers' Union says.

You'd think that people with a background in news reporting might be a bit more aware of their sources' interests, no?

3 comments:

Xoff said...

Would that be this lying John Lott?

Dad29 said...

You have a point to make, X, or just another drive-by rant?

If you think that the crime RATE is up in Milwaukee, then prove it.

No problem!

John Lott said...

In case, you are interested, a some what more detailed discussion of the Police Executive Research Foundation can be found here. My book Freedomnomics has a chapter that goes through, among other things, why crime rates fell during the 1990s.

Dad29, thanks for the post. I think that this is by the far the best book that I have written.