Saturday, June 17, 2006

Minneapolis City Council Approves Latest Band-Aid Fix For Crime Quagmire

What do Minneapolis officials love doing more than raising your taxes?

Answer: Spending your money.

They slapped the collective faces of all current Minneapolis Police Chief candidates by favoring a national search for the new chief at your (taxpayer) expense. A recent Red Star letter writer sounds off:

It should be a lasting tribute to former Police Chief Bill McManus that, according to the FBI, "Violent crime rose 35.5 percent in Minneapolis last year, far higher than a 2.5 percent national increase" (Star Tribune, June 12).
To find McManus, the city expended an ungodly amount of time and taxpayer dollars on a search firm and community meetings. What did they get? A self-absorbed showboat who spent his tenure holding press conferences, officing out of McDonald's and getting sued for engaging in political payback against his own employees.

Now we have the good fortune of an honorable, effective, caring, smart, levelheaded chief who is already on the job. Interim Chief Tim Dolan not only knows the job and the entire community, he commands the respect and loyalty of his troops.

So what does the city do? It decides to AGAIN waste taxpayer dollars with an expensive search process.

Enough, already! The McManus debacle clearly showed that a search process and pointless "community" meetings don't guarantee a competent chief. If we lose Tim Dolan to another city because the mayor doesn't sign him to a long-term contract now, the mayor and council will regret it come election day.

I'm not as convinced as Ms. Peterson is about Tim Dolan, although she has the right idea.

As if that expense weren't enough, the Minneapolis City Council found even more extra money in the budget for the latest band-aid fix to the city's entrenched crime problem: "Minneapolis approves gunfire sensors".

The Minneapolis City Council approved a new system that detects the sound of gunfire in the city, allowing police to respond more quickly to possible crimes.

The system detects the acoustic signature of gunshots and even the sound of a bullet as it travels through the air. It uses 8 to 20 sensors per square mile to pinpoint gunfire to within 75 feet.

"If response time is predictably swift, then criminals have a much less friendly environment to operate in, and that deters a lot of people,” says Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels, who represents the city’s North side.

Samuels voted for the Shot Spotter technology in the council's meeting Friday morning.

The system would cost about $325,000 to be installed.

Samuels says it is worth the price.
I thought the general concensus is there weren't enough officers? If that's the case, how will there be a quicker response? And how does this technology solve the problem of thugs streaming into Minneapolis for the myriad crime opportunities?

If the sensors ultimately result in an increase in arrests of criminals, but they're turned back on the street by wishy-washy judges, how does that help the good citizens of Minneapolis and St. Paul?

Answer: It doesn't.

A lot of the crime problems can be boiled down to soft-headed liberalism and political correctness, which is why the problems are not going away any time soon. Throwing taxpayer's money at the problem is not the answer (but usually is the answer for Minneapolis leaders). A number of solutions have previously been posted and hashed over on this blog, but I'm not confident the decision-makers are paying attention, so crime in Minneapolis will continue to be business as usual.