Friday, January 10, 2014

Opinions are Easy, Reality is Tough

Although I don't often agree with him, I'll give Mark Reardon his due. He's good at what he does.  He knows how to provoke discussion and keep people entertained.

Unfortunately, being a successful entertainer does not necessarily make someone a good crime reduction strategist. That takes years of acquired knowledge and experience, and even then, there are no sure things.

A few days ago, Mark decided to dabble in my profession, by tweeting, "Maybe @ChiefSLMPD and @MayorSlay could learn something about reducing crime from the police chief in Detroit…" His tweet then linked to a news article about statements made by Detroit Police Chief James Craig, suggesting that increased gun ownership might help reduce crime in his city. 

Since Mark is a big believer in the value of plain, honest talk, I'll state my point plainly and honestly and directly to him.

 Mark, you’re wrong on this one. 

According to a story in the Detroit News on January 3, 2014, Detroit looks to have achieved a 7 percent reduction in violent crime for  2013. That is great news for the Motor City, because that 7 percent represents real, flesh and blood people, spared from the pain of victimization. 

There's just one problem with Mark's theory. During the same time period, the decline in violent crime for St. Louis is 10.3 percent!  (The official stats for St. Louis will be released next week.)

Using the most recent data, published by the United States Justice Department – Federal Bureau of Investigation – Criminal Information Services Division’s, Crime in the United States, 2012, Detroit has a violent crime rate of roughly 21.2 per 1000 residents, whereas in St. Louis, it's several points lower at about 17.7 per 1000 residents.  

Since 2006, St. Louis has achieved a nearly 50 percent crime reduction in our city.  Detroit has also experienced a crime decline in those years, but perhaps not quite as dramatic.

So really Mark, which city should imitate which? The answer is each city has to develop solutions that work for it and there is no cookie-cutter approach, there is no silver bullet.

Bottom line! Mark Reardon's twitter feed may be entertaining, but that does not mean it contains any compelling evidence to make me stop believing what I and the overwhelming majority of my fellow police chiefs believe, more guns does not magically give us more safety.


  1. Yes, and the reason the crime rate is lower in STL is because gun ownership and CCWs are readily available to Missouri citizens. More gun control achieves NOTHING but increased violent crime rates. Isn't that counter productive to the goal of a police chief? I can promise as a life long Missourian and a prior service Marine, YOUR IDEALS ARE IGNORANT,DANGEROUS, AND WILL NEVER BE FOLLOWED BY MISSOURIANS. I do not understand how any mildly intelligent individual could argue any different. The 2nd Amendment is VERY, VERY clear... maybe you should read it.

  2. Less guns don't magically give us more safety, either. Talk to Chicago...

  3. Hey Chief, since you are speaking plainly in this article, here is a direct question for you... Are you against gun ownership and what are your views on gun control and the 2nd Amendment? Would you ever confiscate arms from citizens if a federal law or order were to be issued requiring you to do so?

    1. Here is your answer, because the "plain talking chief" will probably not publicly comment on how he will be confiscating legal weapons.

  4. To say that more guns do not magically make people more safe is somewhat true. However, in dangerous areas where people break laws anyway and innocent people ignorantly obey them and civil servants like yourself push ideas as such, criminals illegally use the very weapons that innocent people aren't allowed to have and allow themselves to become victims. Individuals are responsible for their own safety not police(you SHOULD know this). Police simply come AFTER the crime is committed to aid the victim and seek justice on their behalf. Different states and cities have different cultures, social norms, etc. So not all laws from one area of the U.S. would necessarily have the same affect as they do somewhere else true, but in generally dangerous areas with high levels of illegal gun ownership(which is only illegal because public servants such as yourself and politicians make it so) its innocent people who pay the price for your arrogance because for them to have the means to protect themselves, is a crime..... If you had a choice to own a gun or not if you had to live in East STL, Detroit, Flint, East L.A. N.Y.C. etc. I wonder what you would choose? Would you be the one responsible for your family's safety? Or would you risk putting that duty on someone else 10 or 15 min away? You also took an oath to protect the constitution which means to protect people's rights. For you to push for more gun control and make innocent people become criminals for being responsible for their own safety is criminal in itself and disgustingly shameful. For both reasons of taking away people's ability to defend themselves from others, and the more primary reason of the 2nd amendment which is to defend themselves from government. Considering since more people have died by the hands of police than soldiers have been killed in Iraq since our troops set foot there after 911, I have more of a reason to be afraid of police here in my own homeland than I do from any terrorist, and that is a fact.

  5. It's funny coming from a man that carries a gun to say that having one doesn't make you safer. Why don't you walk down through the gang lands of the city you serve by yourself without one? I have to ask, how much history do you remember from school? What does the 2nd amendment mean to you? Why was it written? It was actually written so citizens could defend themselves from a tyrannical government. Which brings me to my next question. Did you, or did you not, swear to defend the constitution? So, will you be sending your subordinates at some point to our doors to confiscate our guns? If so, you are exactly the reason the 2nd amendment was written. We have history lessons that were taught to us in grade school on up that give us examples of why the 2nd amendment exists. And it will be defended by WE THE PEOPLE. WE THE PEOPLE are actually in charge if we will just accept our responsibilities as FREE people. That's right, Chief, WE THE PEOPLE are YOUR boss and WE THE PEOPLE need to say YOU are fired!