Friday, October 14, 2005

Just like an episode of Dragnet

There's a police crackdown
going on.

Last week, officers discovered a kilogram of crack and powder cocaine, along with $300,000 in cash and property. The bust is just part of the department's progress.

Chief Steve Settingsgaard is making sure officers also focus on everyday crimes like littering, noise violations and truancy.

'I have a theory about why that's so important to them, even though it is not the most serious crime. My belief is that it impacts them; it hits them every time they open their front door. You can have a robbery at a gas station two blocks away, but you can still feel at peace and safe in your own home.

My theory is that it makes little sense to brag about the amount of coke, marijuana or other drugs seized by cops. Sure, it causes problems for individual dealers and their regular customers. But I doubt it took longer for 24 hours for the amount of drugs available on the streets to go back to what is usually is. Did it reduce by one minute the amount of time dealers deal from street corners? Nope.

Want to reduce street level drug sales? Arrest users. Set up spy cameras on regular dealer sites, then bust the drivers a half mile down the road. People don't buy crack on street corners on a lark. People sell drugs on street corners because there is a demand for it. Reduce demand, and neighborhoods stabilize before drug dealers go away.

Sure, most of these arrests won't get to court. But it sure creates an environment unfriendly to drug sales. Maybe they'll take their act to Creve Coeur, Metamora, Washington, Morton or Dunlap, which is where a lot of the buyers come from anyway.

Any why not post pics of drug buyers on the Internet, along with their addresses?

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