What is a Mayor’s Job?

via The Age

One indicator that a city is liveable is a low crime rate, if not the absence of crime.  It doesn’t take deep thinking to understand this.  People naturally want to live in places where they and their properties are safe and secure; where they can walk the streets secure in the fact that they’re not going to be mugged at the next corner or on the doorsteps to their homes.  Every day, in local and national news, we hear about theft and senseless skirmishes and deaths even in neighborhoods that otherwise we wouldn’t have known existed.  The message this sends out is thugs are everywhere and no neighborhood is spared.  Again, diseases of the heart (e.g. hypertension) that according to the DOH is due to highly-stressful living, are the top causes of mortality in the country.  It is very stressful to be fearful on a daily basis year to year:  to get in the jeepney, van, L/MRT, bus, taxi, airplane with your heart in your throat thinking that you might be the next victim of a hold up, hijacking, kidnapping, theft, etc.  This state of mind produces bad endorphins that overtime takes on the personality of Pacman who thinks the body is a dot to be gobbled up.  It also changes social relationships — everyone outside our circle of family and friends are suspect hence we’d rather keep to ourselves; the more properties we have the tighter is the circle. Gone is our tradition during fiestas of opening up our homes to anyone who happens to be joining the town or neighborhood celebration.

And this is just about transportation, what about the streets, malls, schools, inside your own home?  I’ve seen some people riding in these PUVs praying the Rosary and I wonder whether it’s for safety during the trip.  With the many beads of the Rosary, I bet the prayer is included.  But reality is, crime happens despite praying the Rosary.  The lesson here therefore is along with prayer it pays to put in crime control measures.  As we say ‘nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa’.

Myron Magnet, of City Journal, has an interesting article on crime in NYC, What is a Mayor’s Job?

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Giuliani and his first police commissioner, William Bratton…declared that the NYPD’s strategy would be to prevent crime, rather than just catch criminals after the fact. Cops would smash crime’s infrastructure, putting chop shops and fences out of business, so burglars and car thieves had no place to sell their loot. Police would search everyone who gave them probable cause for the guns that are the tools of the criminal trade (a policy that current, long-serving NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly has commendably intensified), and they would question them about where they got their weapons, so they could go after the gun dealers as well. They’d stop people for quality-of-life crimes like public drinking or radio blasting, check their IDs, and arrest them if they were fugitives or repeat offenders. They could then see if they were carrying weapons and pump them for information about other criminal activity. The quality-of-life enforcement made clear to the lawless and to the larger community that the police wouldn’t tolerate lawbreaking—so don’t try it. When police turn a blind eye to wrongdoing, even if it is minor, they foster crime by emboldening the ill-intentioned, who will conclude that no one cares what they do, as seems to have happened in shoot-’em-up Chicago.

Bratton changed the NYPD’s management structure, too, giving precinct commanders so much authority that each precinct resembled a mini–police department in itself. But he held those commanders strictly accountable for results, swiftly demoting those who didn’t measure up. And “measure” is the operative word: the department devised a computerized gauge of crimes and arrests, precinct by precinct, that grew so precise that it produced detailed crime maps, showing where crimes clustered, when they occurred, and whether they were rising or falling. Top brass relentlessly grilled the commanders in weekly group sessions that highlighted failures to focus cops on crime hot spots. The meetings also allowed the department to share and refine advances in strategy, sending in the narcotics squad, say, if increased dope dealing correlated with a spike in shootings. In the first year, murder fell by 18 percent; by the time Giuliani left office in 2001, overall crime had dropped by 57 percent.

Read the complete article on City Journal.

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