Criminal Behaviour.

i fully realise that crime exists in all countries of the world. No one country is exempt from, or above being afflicted by, criminals who behave in appalling fashion that all should consider to be unacceptable in the society in which we live.

But it seems to me more than obvious that America, which leads the world in so many aspects of societal life, has a bigger problem than many.

Here are two reports and two quotes from those reports that highlight something i consider a greater threat to American Society and Americans than any ‘foreign’ criminals.

Chicago – we have a (growing) problem.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-us-chicagobeatingdea,0,6285952.story

“Before 2006, an average of 10-15 students were fatally shot each year. That climbed to 24 fatal shootings in the 2006-07 school year, 23 deaths and 211 shootings in the 2007-08 school year and 34 deaths and 290 shootings last school year.”

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,352362,00.html

Nine people were killed in 36 shootings last weekend, one of Chicago’s first spring-like stretches of weather this year.”
So far in the first 3 weeks of the Chicago school year 5 students have been murdered…

Think about that for a minute… imagine 5 children from your town/city being murdered in three weeks – what would you do about it?

A memorial to the last student to be bashed to death on the way home from school was burned down shortly after it was erected.

How do you deal with that sort of hate? – with the mentality of a society where this is permitted to continue year after year virtually unabated?

If you can’t deal with this violence how then are you in any way qualified to tell others how they must live in a ‘democracy’ like yours?

Americans can and should be doing more to resolve their internal problems such as this than the external ones which their previous poor foreign policies are largely responsible for producing in the first place.

Maybe then the world could start becoming a better place for all to live peacefully in?

“Do as i say and not do as i do” has never been a good policy – be it by a person or by a State.

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10 thoughts on “Criminal Behaviour.

  1. The overall violent crime rate in Americas has been dropping steady. There is still way too much violent crime but the US is making significant progress.

    I saw a crime survey, which I can’t find, that showed the violent crime rate has fallen over 25% since 1975.

    I did find some current articles.

    From an article in the Christian Science Monitor dated Sept. 14, 2009:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0915/p02s04-usju.html

    “Overall crime in the US has dwindled to nearly 1960s levels, with particularly violent crimes – murder and rape – on a dramatic downward spiral, the FBI reported Monday.

    Yet across the country, and especially in the South, residents are still alarmed about crime. Many report a surge in property crimes – chiefly break-ins targeting flat-screen TVs.

    Criminologists have expected crime rates to rise – especially as young unemployed males turn to illegal enterprises for cash during the recession. But so far, at least, the current pattern seems more akin to what happened during the Great Depression, when crime rates did not spike dramatically despite – or perhaps because of – widespread poverty.”

    “One reason for the disconnect between perception of crime and the hard stats: Crime, like politics, is local. A 2007 survey by the Center on Media, Crime, and Justice showed that more than 53 percent of Americans said crime was an equal concern to healthcare and the economy. While people may not have seen crime as a problem generally, they often pointed to crime in their own neighborhood as a major concern.”

    The US Justice Dept. crime rates also show a steady decline from 1993.

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance.htm#serious

    Even in Chicago progress is being made. From an Oct. 2008 blog post of mine:

    http://edfromct.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/ceasefire-a-program-to-stop-street-violence-that-works/

    “Communites are having success in dealing with street crime. One program that is working in Chicago is CeaseFire. A US Justice Department study found that over a three year period shootings dropped 41%-71% in CeaseFire zones. “Helped high-risk gang-involved clients of which:

    87% got help getting a job

    85% got help getting a high school diploma or GED

    99% got help leaving a gang

    “In every program are there was a substantial decline in the median density of shootings following the introduction of CeaseFire.”

    The US has made a lot of progress in most areas, such as hate crimes due to race, gender and sexual orientation, which were to a great extent not even crimes when I was growing up in the 1940’s & 50’s. We get a complete fail when it comes to drug crimes.

    Another problem with our criminal justices system is that too many first time offenders go to prison and have to join a gang for protection. This just creates more career criminals. The US does need make a great deal more progress in reabilitating young offenders and with drug related violance.

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  2. I do have to defend my home land here just a little.

    It is very easy to kick the US because we to tend to get involved in far too much. I agree with that.

    But before everyone jumps on the bandwagon kicking the US, remember that the PEOPLE of the US are the single largest donors of aid in the world. Roughly 214 Billion dollars per year at a rate of 2.4% of the GDP. No other country comes close to this. In fact, the next largest donor is Japan which is less than half of that.

    As for the deaths…they happen in many many counties and this is not exclusive to the US. The US does however report it heavily on the 24 hour news cycle. The US also logs each and every death which can be pulled as part of public record. Few countries do this. Not sure about Aussies?
    I would expect that if you look in most free counties and in their larger urban areas, this type of crime and death would be fairly prevalent. Maybe not as bad as inner city Chicago which is much worse than many areas in the country, but as bad as say Nashville, Seattle, LA, Atlanta etc…plus, have you ever been to Chicago? Some pretty rough areas my friend.

    Come to Nashville…you won’t see near the problems.

    And if you are looking for some comparisons here is the criminology report from the Aussie gov…you will find the rates in Australia are not much different than in the US, Europe, Canada etc…in some crimes even higher. For example, the Aussie crime rates with guns are rising way faster than the US…must have something to do with new gun laws.

    http://www.aic.gov.au/documents/B/5/2/%7BB52C3AEB-5F54-4AE1-A6EF-D535DB4B31C3%7Dti23.pdf

    As an American I can tell you one thing with 100% certainty…when we provide help everyone complains that we are giving it. When we don’t, we are horrible for not. Either way we lose.
    I will still choose to live here however over many other places in the world where people truly do not have freedoms. We can always fix the crime rates…hell, if New York can do it surely Chicago can 🙂

    Sorry for the rant…think you have a valid point just think you are missing some of the pieces that we see living here.

    Fun as always Love!

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  3. ED – i know for a fact here in Aus ( and i have every reason to believe something similar has happened in America since Aus has an increasing tendency to follow America rather than leading the world in such things) Crime statistics are now more ‘spun’ by our policing agencies so as to seem to show ‘progress’ in the ‘war on crime’ is being won and the billions we put into law enforcement is actually doing some good.

    The main way they do this is by redefining various statistical measures of crime ratesthat result in the final figures published.

    I am obliged to take what you have reported about the ‘Ceasefire Progam’ at face value but what the post’s report from the Chicago Tribune then shows is that while in ‘Ceasefire’ zones shootings dropped by 41-71 % in the non-ceasefire zones there must have been even higher increases than the 300% in fatal shootings of schoolchildren in just 3 years as reported???

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  4. Joseph – thanks for the ‘defence’ 😉 I think you may nave missed my main point a little however.

    I was not saying that the US was CRIME ridden but was highlighting one specific crime which the US alone amongst any comparable civilised first world country seems to be unable to overcome as the reports showed.

    Australia holds the world record for a single incident death toll by gun-crime (34 at Port Arthur in Tasmania) but that one event caused a nationwide hand in of unregistered and registered weapons and changes to gun laws were instigated so as to help prevent another such tragedy occuring.

    Since then there have indeed been gun-related deaths in Aus but the numbers are much much lower than the US – even considering you have over 15times our total population.

    ( more to follow) 🙂

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  5. I always love a good discussion..what would I do without your blog 🙂

    The thing with Chicago is that it is really not representative of the whole country. There was a story on Chicago yesterday ironically talking about how they are having more trouble in their school system this year than they have in years. A particularly strange spike in violent crime.

    This from the city that yields our new president…hmmm..

    All that said, Chicago is still an amazing city to visit and live. I have an office there and I love going. Most of the crime is isolated )as with most big cities) to certain areas.

    I can tell you how to fix it here though…this won’t be popular with the readers I don’t think.

    The US has got to start being tough on these idiots who commit these crimes. We are so caught up in giving a CEO a life sentence for fraud and then giving a violent rapist 6 years. There is no consistency in the sentencing and the criminals know it. Don’t believe me…see the difference in crimes committed in Texas vs. other states. NO ONE wants to get caught in Texas because the laws are tougher.
    We have death penalty states and non death penalty states. Inconsistency number two. They should either all be or none of them be (which ever side of the fence the readers fall on)

    And to finish my second essay, I think the US and probably some other countries could fix a ton of this by simply re-structuring the welfare programs. Way to many folks here on entitlements and not doing a darn thing for them. Idle people lead to crime.
    I really think that if you are receiving a government check and are capable, you should be doing government work like cleaning highways and such. I do not think it should just be a free hand out unless you are one of those few who really really do need it.

    Wow…as always…it was fun Love…

    We have to get lighter hearted around here 🙂

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  6. Being from South Africa I think we pretty much top the charts in crime. But the specific crime you are mentioning here has been something which I have found odd because you don’t see it happening really in any other country. But I know in the UK for example, stabbing amongst teens are quite common, and I think if they had access to guns it would be shootings.

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  7. Joseph – i think you may find this link interesting?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cities_by_crime_rate

    It shows Nashville has a higher violent crime rate than Chicago and almost identical murder stats! The difference being Chicago has some 6 times the population of Nashville so the reports of violent crime there seem greater simply because of how many total deaths Chicago has (and probably because of the young age of many victims but i don’t have the age stats for Nashville et al.)

    The figures for Houston and Dallas are not all that different to Chicago as a whole btw? 🙂

    While crime rates overall are similar in the US and Aus the murder rates are about 2-3 times higher in the US – this is despite the fact you have a Death penalty and enforce it and we don’t have one at all?

    The link also shows Baltimore is the murder capital of the US with rates 3 times higher than Chicago. Baltimore is roughly the same sized city as Nashville.

    It has been suggested that crime reductions that arre fairly similarly reported across the world’s nations are almost entirely due to increased security conscious populations and relate to property and vehicle theft/crime whereas crimes against people are almost static.

    I tend to think that Crime rates in countries largely reflect the quality of the Justice and police systems in them. Since the US may justifiably be able to claim it has the best such systems in the world ( along with a legal system ‘second’ to none) i can only wonder why it remains Unique among the world’s nations in allowing such a significantly higher murder rate in it’s population compared to any similarly developed nation?

    The US does seem to put money ahead of the value of human life.- or that is how it can appear to many outside observers – and the statistics do seem to back it up.?

    i’d love to lighten some hearts around here and hope to be able to soon – but i’ve had a funny little period of life lately!

    And i don’t mean funny haha 😦

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  8. Rain – SA certainly does seem to be in the top 3 countries for violent crime stats – i would venture to suggest that one of the reasons is the massively disruptive change that has occurred in my lifetime from a white minority government rule that instituted the Apartheid policy to a majority African government that has tribal differences and a very short period of learning how to apply it’s power for the good of all it’s citizens who are to say the least – quite a varied group.

    I agree with you – access to guns in some countries along with the increasing undervaluing of some people’s lives would be a frightening prospect.

    The weird thing is though – Canada has a similar rate of gun ownership to the US but has nowhere near the murder rate? There does seem to be a rare combination of factors in the US that is unlike any other place on earth in this regard.

    I am not saying it is the worst place on earth – but it certainly is a major anomaly and there seems to be little to no ‘progress’ in the area of shooting deaths – and as my post showed in some places it is becoming dramatically worse in recent years ( around the same time the Financial crisis hit??)

    With the money and brains located in the US i truly don’t understand just why this should be – i am afraid it is endemic from the very highest levels of US Society/government and in part accounts for, or is a feature of, the tendency for the US to go in shooting in various regions of the world ‘to protect itself’.

    The amount of US GDP dedicated to or incurrred from Weapons Manufacture, sale and export is what is truly frightening for a country who supposedly believes in Peace and Freedom.

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  9. I am going to be lazy and not do the research to verify my perceptions about violent crime in the US.

    I know that even in the nearest “big” city, New Haven, pop 150,000, there is a spike in violent crimes when gangs start fighting over drug turfs. The murder rate can double during these drug wars. Two things happen to reduce the murder rate. 1) The city and local community re-double their efforts to get young people away from joining gangs. 2) The most violent gang members kill each other, or get long prison convictions.

    The problem has been how to sustain the success in getting young people away from the gangs. New York City has been able to transform some of it’s worst high crime areas, with a strong, ongoing, commitment from the local community, and financial aid from government. The most important part being very active community involvement.

    The long term problem for America is that we want our drugs, and are willing to pay whatever it takes to get them. This provides the gangs with huge drug profits. Once you couple that with a high youth unemployment rate, and the lose of hope and faith by the young, and that is the perfect recipe for a drug war zone.

    I am fairly confident the US will have success in dealing with all other types of violent crimes, except those that are drug related. We Americans want our drugs, and then close our eyes to the violence our addiction creates.

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  10. ED – there may well be a very strong link between Drugs, gangs, and Murder of schoolkids in the US.

    The thing that is interesting though is that the US is by no means alone in it’s need/desire to acquire drugs – this is common to all ‘developed’ society’s.

    Neither are gang wars unique to the US.

    What is exceptional, given your police forces resources and strong penalties in a Justice system that is not averse to killing the ‘worst of the worst’ or handing out long sentences to black gang members, is the rates of death per 100,000 people that are 2-3 times the rate of ‘comparable’ communities or countries, particularly ones that don’t have such harsh penalties for those crimes.

    I don’t see the US closing it’s eyes to the violence – it just seems incapable ( apart from New York and we all know why that place is special this decade) of doing what is needed to cut down the death rate.

    Americans kill far more people every single year with guns than were killed by the terrorists on 9/11.

    But it’s ok to declare a multi-trillion war on the foreigners but not on the thugs in your own nation?

    If i were of a cynical nature i might think that is because foreigners can’t vote in US Elections?? 🙂

    <B

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