Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Mayor Will Fight Crime "Even Harder"

According to the Red Star, Mayor Rybak will soon really, really step up his efforts to fight crime. Once he clears the visions of Euarasian milfoil and weaving from his head, he should be good to go. Really.

The Red Star reports: "Rybak to promise he'll work even harder to fight crime".

In his winning 2001 mayoral campaign, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak talked about how he wanted to restore the city's "collective swagger."

He talked about Eurasian milfoil, campaign finance reform and corporate subsidies. In his 2005 reelection bid, his opponent tried to paint him as soft on crime, but Rybak promised to hire 71 new street cops and won easily.
I'd say that the opponent [Peter McLaughlin] who tried to paint Rybak as soft on crime may have had a point. As for the promised officers?

More than half of those officers have yet to be hired, and the city's reputation as a safe place teeters on the brink after the slayings of two people out for an evening's entertainment in Uptown and downtown.
Teeters on the brink? Too late - it's already a Quagmire As Mitch Berg would say: U.S out of Minneapolis!

Asked whether the latest shootings have changed his thinking, Rybak said: "My focus has been public safety and it will continue to be. We're going to keep working harder and harder."
Here's some help. Since this blog has the smartest readers to be found, they have provided some fine ideas, free of charge. Here's a good example from NordEaster:

In simple economic terms, we have a surplus of criminals. The question then is how do we reduce that surplus?

Most of the conversation has been on the enforcement side. More cops and tougher sentancing will get a few more criminals off the street, keep them off longer, and may even deter some from committing a crime. That however treats a symptom, not a cause. I agree with those who argue this is a band-aid approach. [Ed. - right on]

My recommendations go broader.

1). Stricter welfare requirements. How many times in recent years have we seen crime reports in Minnesota listing violent criminals being from Milwaukee, East St. Louis or Gary, IN? It's no coincidence that the rise in move-in criminals occured when tougher welfare laws were enacted in states like Wisconsin (Gov. Thompson) and Indiana. The criminal element flocked to Minnesota where handouts were easy.

The solution -- commit a serious crime, forfeit your welfare [Ed. - love it!]. Don't have at least a part-time job (in a state with 3.7% unemployment), forfeit your welfare.

2). Give the police the tools they need -- including leeway to do their job. The 2nd largest department should not be internal affairs. Take some cops out of that department and get them on the streets. I'm not saying tolerate violations of fundamental rights. Just don't make police officers feel like every arrest of a minority is an exercise in racial profiling.

Even though he has received some ribbing for it, this is where I credit chief McManus for breaking down some of the us against them barriers.

3). Treat gangs as organized crime (which is what they are) or possibly even terrorist organizations. Use RICO. Target their leadership. If a gang commits violence hold the leadership responsible.
Nordeaster Homepage 04.17.06 - 11:03 am
Good stuff, that.

Red Star reporter Rochelle Olson tells it straight:

Rybak isn't a natural fit for crimefighter-in-chief, a la former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, or even the bombastic Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

Rybak is New Age, not Old School. His most visible foray into public policy before becoming mayor was throwing a pajama party at the airport to draw attention to the noise created by airplanes flying over his home near Lake Harriet.

Serious reported crimes, which include rape, homicide, burglary, assault and car theft, are up from 27,199 reported in 2001, the year before Rybak took office, to 28,318 last year.

Crime has become the defining issue of Rybak's second term.
Thanks for telling it like it is, Rochelle. As I've noted before, the good mayor is in way over his head. He's probably a good guy, maybe even fun to hang out with, but he's not capable of the mindset necessary to attack crime.

Business leaders are understandably worried:

Downtown advocates are speaking out.

Sam Grabarski, head of the Downtown Council, said it has been difficult recruiting new tenants to vacant restaurants around the Block E entertainment complex because of an atmosphere that has been called "scary."

"Police are not enforcing loitering guidelines that are already on the books," he said. "There are groups of highly aggressive young men there."
These rats need to be rousted out of the city and out of the state of Minnesota. Send 'em out to California - they'll fit right in.

Confidence in the mayor has all but disappeared:

But Englund, the neighborhood advocate, said the city needs to address crime through jobs and redevelopment, not just cops. "I have no idea whether R.T. Rybak is up to that or not. I hope to God he is, because the city has three years to go" on his term.
Is it too late to save the city? Time will tell.