A man whose opinion I always value, Wilson Riles has shared with us this below:
First, let me say that I greatly appreciate the fact that mayoral candidate Joe Tuman has presented his plan for reducing crime in Oakland early in the campaign. He is to be congratulated for that because this issue always has been a vexing conundrum for Oakland and has been since-forever blamed for almost all of Oakland’s lack of progress. The problem with his campaign strategy is that it leaves plenty of time for the plan to be attacked; therefore the plan would have needed to be virtually full-proof. Campaigns are not based on the use of logic; supporting someone to lead you is hardly ever a logical process. Therefore it will not be through logic that the plan will be attacked during the remainder of the campaign. I, however, will attempt to look at it from a logical prospective and from this prospective this Tuman plan is flawed.
Joe starts out – number one, first thing out of the box – by talking about the number of officers that Oakland has per capita. Logic would dictate that we must first question our assumptions. The assumption that Oakland’s crime problem can be improved – first – with more police officers is a false assumption that has been proven wrong. Let me give you three ways that it has been proven wrong: (1) there is NO relationship between the crime rates and the officers per capita for cities of similar size in the US, (2) there is NO relationship between the crime rate in Oakland over the years and the number of officers per capita, and (3) the 1972-73 Kansas City preventive patrol experiment clearly proved that more police in an area makes NO difference to the crime rate.
In Kansas City, they divided the City into parts and measured what difference different concentrations of officers would make. The major findings were as follows: (1) citizens did not notice the difference when the frequency of patrols was changed, (2) increasing or decreasing the level of patrol had no significant effect on resident and commercial burglaries, auto thefts, larcenies involving auto accessories, robberies, or vandalism–crimes, (3) the rate at which crimes were reported did not differ significantly across the experimental beats, (4) citizen reported fear of crime was not affected by different levels of patrol, and (5) citizen satisfaction with police did not vary.
Therefore, Joe Tuman’s and others belief in the first priority need for more cops is not based on evidence. It is an unexamined faith that is marketed to the public by manipulative politicians who do not have the courage to go against mythology, the incarceration-industrial-complex that sells things to police departments, and by empire building police chiefs like Bill Bratton. Joe Tuman’s idea to receive One-Time-Only resources from the sale of land to expend on the On-Going costs of police personnel is outrageous! And irresponsible! The rest of his payment plan is ass-backwards; a responsible leader does not spend money before he has it! Expand the tax base first before you start spending the money. And what is your plan for doing that? And how do you do that when you increase the business license taxes on new businesses and collect hotel taxes on – Nonexistent – newly built rooms?!
Joe Tuman’s Second priority is just a bunch of platitudes, ignorance, and politics. We can start with the politics. Tuman’s attack on Mayor Quan’s 100 Block Initiative and his advocacy of evenly distributed patrols across the City is a cynical political move. Quan’s tactic of concentrating attention – not just patrols – into particular areas for specific results has demonstrated itself as an effect but temporary tactic for police departments across the country. Tuman might legitimately argue with the areas chosen and he can surly argue with Quan’s and the Police Department’s implication of permanence. Instead he criticizes a tactic that has some evidence for success and substitutes a tactic – evenly distributed patrols – where there is clear evidence of ineffectiveness. I can only surmise that he is playing up to hill’s and foothill’s critics of Jean’s plan who were upset that flatlands neighborhoods were getting some attention that their neighborhoods were not getting. This is Tuman’s cynical political move.
I echo his concern that “City leaders” have not given proper direction to the OPD. And, yes, OPD actions need to be evidenced based. Tuman only offers his candidacy and possible mayoral administration without presenting how he is going to educate the City Council to govern based on evidence. The Council is the source of many of the initiatives that Tuman disparages like Measure Y, the temporary use of law enforcement officials from other jurisdictions, etc. The Council is particularly blame worthy for not curtailing the persistent unconstitutional policing that results in MILLIONS of dollars in losses to the City every year from successful civil rights violation lawsuits including the one which brought about the Negotiated Settlement Agreement. Tuman only offers his opinion that he would make a good leader while demonstrating his belief in tactics that have no evidence that they will work. How does that work?
Third, Tuman’s call for Special Initiatives for Specific crimes is uninformative and hackneyed. What does he mean by “reduce the number of potential customers” for child trafficking for prostitution? How? Using what resources? And his car impoundment and property seizures for illegal dumping and sideshows are inane. Who is going to do those impoundments and seizures? How about providing more affordable dumping sites and advertising them. How about doing what San Diego did and provide a safe and sane place for sideshows that could lead young folks into detailing, auto mechanics, and automobile racing professions?
Fourth, Joe Tuman talks about working on the root causes of crime and violence. He demonstrates little interest in this or much knowledge, expertise, or wisdom about the root causes. It is as if he is “checking a box.” ‘Oh, I have to say something about root causes. But I am not going to find more resources for this or propose new programs.’ Tuman just lists four small categories of programs that he says are working. I will not expect any leadership from him in this area – if he were to get elected – because he has demonstrated only a very thin slice of knowledge about it.
Tuman’s Fifth point is a reiteration of his call for leadership; his call for his leadership.
Again, I appreciate Joe Tuman’s boldness for putting out a plan. I just wish that it was a better plan. I hope that it will spark the discussion that this community needs both inside and outside the mayoral campaign.
There simply is nothing to which we can attach ourselves, no matter how hard we try. In time, things will change and the conditions that produced our current desires will be gone. Why then cling to them now?
- Master Hsing Yun, "The Indescribable"