Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Killings in Baltimore are not Random

In today's Wall Street Journal, Wendy Pollack has a concise piece discussing Baltimore's murder rate.

Killings in Baltimore have remained consistently high even as most major U.S. cities have seen their murder rates fall sharply. What sets Baltimore apart, so Baltimore Sun’s Julie Bykowiczme criminologists say, is pervasive heroin addiction, the reports.
In the article Ms. Pollack links to, there's a telling section.
In a joint interview this month at police headquarters, Dixon and Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, both Baltimore natives, said drugs have played into the city's homicide rate in another way - by breaking apart the family structure.

"There's a whole different makeup of the family now, with alcoholism and drug addiction," the 54-year-old Dixon said, contrasting today's Baltimore with the one she grew up in.

Jessamy and others wonder about a violence-begets-violence effect.

Children here grow up with so much death and chaos, Jessamy said, that they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and deal with it by acting out. Men age 24 and younger are driving much of the violent crime in Baltimore, according to statistics.
This mirrors what's going on in Oakland.

Social pathologies are not the rain, falling evenly across society. They are not primarily driven by income or race. They are most strongly correlated to the family structure of the people involved. It's a mathematical fact. While some want to find governmental programs to help the situation, the real solution is clear. It stares back at us in the mirror every morning. Governmental agencies with civil servants typing reports on computers and giving each other PowerPoint presentations in nice office buildings around the Beltway are not going to change the situation.

Single parent households have less money and fewer labor hours to devote to parenting than traditional, two-parent households. You cannot consistently produce a better product with less money and less labor.

Why is that so hard for reporters to write? Why is that so hard for politicians to say? Why can't bureaucrats report that?

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