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June 01, 2010



I hope you don't mean to say that we didn't all kill JFK.


What is poverty anyway ?

You can find people in soup lines who have a large screen color TV at home, a cell phone and assorted video games.

It used to be not having a refrigerator wasn't enough to be considered "in poverty."

Ian R Thorpe

I don't know how things are done over there but Britin's recently ejected Labour government has proclaimed for years the success of its "rehab not punishment" policy in reducing crime.

Were they lying? No.
Had crime fallen? No.

The smarter people among us noticed instead of talking about "crime" the government always talked about "recorded crime." And guess what - the police had been ordered to stop recording trvial offences in which there was little chance of identifying the culprit.

All they had done was stop counting crimes committed by the under sixteens. All those little crimes that stupid kids do, vandalism, setting fire to old cars, shoplifting etc. were no longer counted as crimes for statistical purposes. Consequently crimes by under sixteens rose, the voters saw crime as a big social problem and government supporters yelled that the voters were not intelligent enough to understand how reducing crime worked.

What works in reducing real crime is having police officers on the streets and handing out tough sentences for criminals.

Official statistics are the biggest crime of all.

hit and run

Surprisingly, this has happened in the teeth of the Great Recession, meaning that those disposed to attribute criminality to poverty -- my view at one time -- have some strenuous rethinking to do.

We have a benevolent Democrat,who it should be noted has not reached the point of having made enough money,and who has a funny name and who doesn't look like the other presidents on the dollar bills in the White House.

Crime goes down.

It's clear.

Attribute criminality to evil rich white Republicans.


If researchers could just find the "root cause" of liberalism, we'd be on the way to recovery.

Captain Hate

So does Cohen face shunning by his dimwitted peers or does he spand a couple weeks backtracking and explaining what he *really* meant; gotta keep those invites coming to all the kewel parties and get-togethers.


"root cause" of liberalism

IMO a big piece is belief in man-made institutions for salvation rather than God.
The leaders have a God complex and the constituents are children...never growing up to take responsibility for themselves.
Indulgent parents and their spoiled rotten children...that is the left.
Conservatives are the grown ups.


"something akin to culture"...i like that. and i say so as someone who grew up at 81st and State Street; Melinda knows what i mean.


It’s time for JOM research team to blow the lid off of these ridiculous FBI UCR statistics.

I funded a small study in 1993 on UCR reporting by the individual states and how that data was compiled by the FBI. The findings, which are safely stored on some floppy disc somewhere I can’t now find, showed that the figures are worthless on a comparative basis due to wide variations on how the incidents were reported from the individual states.

Violent crime statistics are a combination of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Per 100,000 residents, the murder, rape and robbery numbers are relatively stable and low. Aggravated assault is the big factor that essentially drives the violent crime rate.

Although my study looked at all states where the information was available in ’93, it focused on practices in Connecticut and Michigan as examples. After a quick look over the weekend (prompted by an appearance by James Fox, a professor of criminal justice at Northeastern University on CSPAN) I found the current numbers just as flawed as they were 17 years ago.

Anomalies in the way different states report their crimes leads to wildly differing crime rates. The most egregious of these is the use of a “Family Violence” section by select states.

Take for example a hypothetical assault in Michigan. Let’s say a man comes home from a softball game and finds his dinner is not ready. He takes his bat and uses it to remind his wife of her household duties by knocking her in the head a few times. In Michigan, that is an aggravated assault and is recorded as such on the Michigan UCR along with being reported to the FBI for compilation in their yearly summary.

Using the same scenario, in Connecticut the crime would be reported in the “Family Violence” subsection of their state UCR report, but not included in their aggravated assault numbers reported to the FBI.

The difference shows Connecticut as a low-crime state and Michigan as a high-crime state. The resulting fallout is a two-edge sword of lower desirability for living in Michigan but a better case for increased federal funding for crime programs.

To add insult to injury, Michigan also includes prisoner-on-prisoner crime statistics in their report as if the assaults had taken place on a city street.

I’ve spoken with the assistant director of the FBI in charge of the UCR program at the time and the chairman of the commission comprised of police chiefs and FBI personnel who oversaw the UCR process, but no one was interested in finding out about problems in the system.

These bogus numbers influence the flow of millions of taxpayer dollars. It’s time to bring some accuracy to them.


--IMO a big piece is belief in man-made institutions for salvation rather than God.--

Not true Janet.
Nancy Pelosi says she's in the middle of instituting a theocracy based on "the Word made flesh". I'm awaiting the outcry of the secular left.
As an aside, since Pelosi voted against the partial birth abortion ban I can only presume her answer to 'what would Jesus do?' is "He would do to an innocent baby what Khalid Sheik Muhammad did to Daniel Pearl".

No, better not.  Hush a bye, baby.

jwest, should we tell Richard Cohen about 'error bars'?

Captain Hate

Somebody should put Pelosi's witless ruminations on theology on DVD as what would've happened if St Augustine's mother had been a crack addict.


Instead of telling Richard Cohen, TM and Clarice can do a guest spot on all the networks showing original reporting that everyone missed except for the “semi-popular blog” Just One Minute.

Comanche Voter

Numbnuts in the Washington Post writes:

"But the latest crime statistics strongly suggest that bad times do not necessarily make bad people. Bad character does."

Well Duh!!!!!


Here’s a few statistics from 2008.

South Carolina reported 24,149 aggravated assaults, while the peaceful residents of Kentucky only had 7,036, even though the populations of the two states are roughly the same.

What makes the people of S.C. so violent? Perhaps we need to spend a few hundred million on studies and programs to find out what Kentucky is doing right and what kind of tea-bagging criminals South Carolina is breeding.

Or, on the other hand, we could look into the fact that Kentucky separates its assaults into two different categories – one with a weapon and one without. So, in Kentucky, if you use a baseball bat on your wife you will have your statistic reported to the FBI for inclusion in “Crime in America” If you only beat her with your fists, it’s a “Part II” crime that the rest of the country needn’t hear about.

The “Uniform” in Uniform Crime Report is supposed to eliminate the differences and give a set of numbers that can be used for comparison.

Epic Fail.


Interesting comment by Ian Thorpe above, regarding the Brits simply not recording a lot of crimes. For years we've heard about how Denmark liberalizing sex and pornography laws resulted in a drop in sex crimes. Duh! The drop was not because enlightened liberalism had alleviated tensions and straightened perps out, but because what the perps had been doing, which they continued to do, was no longer defined as criminal. I'd be willing to bet that we'd see a major reduction in speeding offenses, if we only reset the speed limits to fifty mph over what we are used to. Sheesh.


Where’s that old JOM spirit of rooting out incompetence and waste in the Justice Department? Have we lost the drive that made this website the go-to place during the heady days of Plame?

This revelation concerning the FBI’s UCR statistics dwarfs what O’Keefe and Breitbart did with Acorn, when looked at through the lens of how many taxpayer dollars are misdirected due to bad data.

Is there any interest in pursuing this?


jwest, I'm sure the data are messed up in a variety of ways, but perhaps people here would get more excited about it if you could say what affect it is having on the time trend. My first reaction is that if the numbers aren't comparable across states, as long as they're consistent over time, you can still get an accurate read on year-to-year changes. That's what most people are interested in.



The federally compiled UCR data which is presented in the annual “Crime in America” report is the base data relied on to justify all sorts of expensive outlays. Although I can’t readily find the federal equivalent of the use list, here is one from Maine that is essentially a miniature of how the feds use it.

1. Budget - need and justification.
2. Staffing - number needed as to state average employees vs. population and crime rate.
3. Department makeup - Laboratory, Detective Division, Juvenile Officers, as related to particular crime problems in the community.
4. Problem crimes identified.
5. Disbursement of personnel and shifts according to the crime picture of the individual communities. In cases of State Police and sheriffs with concurrent jurisdiction, placement according to need and avoiding duplication of services.
6. Training needs - training according to crime problems in the areas of priority.
7. Equipment purchase - according to justified need.
8. Selective enforcement by crime volume as identified by particular times and seasons through UCR information.
9. Community crime profiles identifying particular problems.
10. Long-range planning as anticipated by crime trends.
II. Governor and Legislature
1. Broad true picture of crime in Maine by location, volume, type and crime rate as derived from records of all enforcement agencies.
2. Guide to valid funding needs of special-interest groups and their requests for same.
3. Need for additional or less specialized type programs.
4. Identification of crime trends and their relation to training, courts, corrections and other criminal justice agencies.
5. Identification of various social problems relating to drugs, alcohol, juveniles and rehabilitation.
6. Effectiveness of various social programs relating to the above.
III. Courts - prosecution
1. Valuable general research information in crimes within the areas being served.
2. Crime trend information
3. Identifies problem crimes to be considered in the prosecution or judicial process.
IV. Press
A factual source for use in reporting crime problems and socially related problems.
V. Social Agencies
1. Identifies problem areas on which to concentrate.
2. Some basis for general evaluating of the effectiveness of their programs.

So basically they are taking this mismatched information from the states, claiming that it is “uniform” so that comparisons can be drawn and allowing every special interest to point to the results in order to fund their idea.

Crime, and all the related facets, is big business.

This is like the climate change numbers. If the base data is screwed up, everything done from that point on is worse than worthless. Time, effort and billions of dollars are misdirected because the public didn’t have the correct facts to begin with.

Yes, individual states can use their numbers to get a handle on year to year variations, but when the congressmen start to wave the “Crime in America” report in order to funnel federal money to their districts, it is done on the basis of how that district compares to others in different states. Our money is being spent on lies.


Speaking of Cohen's "something akin to culture and not economics is the root cause of crime" line.

I've always enjoyed the disenfranchised Islamic French Youth's penchant to torch cars. This New Years Eve they burned 1,137">http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60010D20100101">1,137 in France, and ">http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,636029,00.html"> 317 last Bastille Day.

Generally its over 30,000 "Car-B-Que's" a year or a bit over 100 a night on average.

Well I was just wondering if anyone had the latest stats on how many cars were burned by the disaffected Islamic French Youth last night in protest over the Israeli Blockade Incident. Generally these disaffected youth's seem strangely to be effected by such 'akin to culture' things, so I was wondering if anyone had the latest numbers yet, so as to determine if they were really serious protesting in Paris yesterday, or simply going through the motions.


jwest, It looks very interesting. Unofrtunately I just got off a longish trip and have to catch up on other stuff for a bit.

In the meantime, here's some goodies on the "peace ship" to Gaza.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/video/module.html?s=news01s401aqed2>Ambassador Oren

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-05-31/israel-was-right-to-board-the-gaza-flotilla/>Leslie Gelb

JM Hanes


"Anomalies in the way different states report their crimes leads to wildly differing crime rates."

Unfortunately, the floppy disk I've misplaced is a mental one, but I recall a similar analysis which found that southern states were providing far more comprehensive stats on hate crimes than states outside the south too. You can imagine what pols and pundits waving the UCR around had to say about that.

JM Hanes

"Something akin to culture."

LOL! I suspect Cohen will walk that tentative cat back soon enough, alas; he always does. He had a similar moment or two of clarity when he was in Iran reporting on the greens, all too quickly lost in the fog of knee-jerk qualifiers like "akin."

Bad data.  Whew.  I'll get started soon, but first I've got this Pilated Inferno to deal with.

It's very impressive, jwest, and a scandal of knowledge and policy.

What to do, what to do. I've said for years that the best thing in the world is a good cop and the worst thing in the world is a bad one.


The only good alternative to the UCR is victimization surveys, which used to be conducted regularly by a number of university polling centers. The advantage of such surveys is that they capture all sorts of unreported crimes and avoid police department and politician ass-covering. The disadvantage is 1) that you have all the problems of sampling techniques that any survey and 2) they cost money. But if I want to know how many acquaintance rapes there were in a given place at a given time I'd feel a lot better about a well-designed victimization survey than official statistics.

Melinda Romanoff


I am insulted that you would think your Federal tax dollars were being wasted in the pursuit of crime here in Illinois.

And mine, by the way....

Can I have a receipt for that?

Good enough for government work.



You can boil it down to this (knowing that this will offend a great many soft-hearted liberals):

Decent people, even in hard times, do not commit crimes.

Indecent people, despite the times, do.

Assistant Village Idiot

fdcol63 - meant in jest, but please, don't give government researchers any ideas!

I agree with the idea, though, and have some offerings on the sidebar of my own site about how the liberal tribe came to be, who is in it, and how it perpetuates its cultural influence.


Cohen is not only a second-rate mind, but he reinforces that conclusion by making the same unforced errors a second time around.

"But the latest crime statistics strongly suggest that bad times do not necessarily make bad people. Bad character does."

No, it shows a lack of correlation between crime and poverty. It says nothing affirmative about the causes of crime, which can be any number of things. His mind should be studied by science, because his illogic is a phenomenon that all learned people should study.

And I love this gem:
"It could be, as conservatives have insisted all along, that crime is committed by criminals. For liberals, this is bad news indeed."

How is that bad news for liberals? One would think that this is good news for society. Is Cohen saying that liberals don't care about the good of society, but only about the purity of their ideological assumptions? Fascinating!


Why are we wasting tax payer dollars on this crap? Private industry, responding to market demands, should be the source of any such "studies". The governments should report ALL their domestic actions in a transparent fashion - please keep killing terrorists abroad with alacrity and a bit of Congressional oversight - and citizens can access the information they need based on the available data. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and the market place is the best adjuster of prices. I want LESS government not more.

Micha Elyi

Victimization surveys conducted by university polling centers, eh? If I want a lagging indicator of feminist activism levels, I look at the rise and fall of "acquaintance rape" reports found by any "well-designed victimization survey."

Let's just politely call the problem unique to claims of rape in response to a survey taker, "overreporting." Overreporting is orders of magnitude less likely to occur in other crime survey categories such as assault because one doesn't often decide the morning after that suddenly one has a knife wound or broken limb that wasn't there a moment ago.


Ann Althouse is claiming the photo in the site Life Hacker is of her taken in 1981 and is now being used as a stock photo.

The photo was taken by Richard Lawrence Cohen...


I'm not convinced that crime is down. In fact, I suspect it's doubly up: crime is nominally stable or up and the officials are under-reporting it (that's a crime in itself). High-crime stats for a city repel people with money. 20/20 or 60-Minutes did an expose' on this years ago.


I am not sure I buy the stats on crime being down. We have seen in many cities that the police departments lie about the number of crimes and downgrade offenses (turning violent crimes into less serious sounding offenses). Corrupt Democratic politicians and the police unions are happy to have the appearance of lower crime, whether crime is up or down.


Sincere kudos to Richard; it is not easy to state publicly that your long-held premises were flawed.
Various past depressions and severe recessions did not yield increases in crime, violent or otherwise. In that respect conservatives have the advantage of reconizing value in learning from the past, whereas libs are handicapped by believing history begins anew on Jan 20th every 8 or 12 years.


Ann Althouse is claiming the photo in the site Life Hacker is of her taken in 1981 and is now being used as a stock photo.

The photo was taken by Richard Lawrence Cohen...

RLC is Althouse's first husband, not the columnist who's being lampooned here. The two share first and last names and a profession, but that's it.


Thanks for that Kev.

It's a great photo of Ann.


laugh of the day,


Next he'll be admitting that big government doesn't really work. Exhibit A: the handling of the BP spill.

The truth is that big government just makes more people "responsible" without anybody really having to take the blame or suffer the consequences. If Obama really means his "The buck stops with me," rhetoric, he ought to resign. Anything less is just empty words. I would fire anybody in the MMS or any other agency that had anything to do with allowing BP to drill this well, but the spill will have been cleaned up and the Gulf recovered by the time anybody covered by Civil Service actually gets canned.

Good Lt.

Is it just me, or is Cohen just projecting (as most liberals do) in this situation?

HE seems to be admitting that his thought process until this epiphany was thus: "Gee, if I was ever faced with an economic hardship or foreclosure, I would certainly resort to crime to get by. That must be what everyone else does, too. Therefore, poverty causes crime."

What a maroon, but kudos to him for letting a ray of sunlight through the clouds of the liberal 'mind.'

M. Simon

IMO a big piece is belief in man-made institutions for salvation rather than God.

I will go farther - salvation is not available anywhere, ever.

The only choices are better/worse.

If viable, it makes all the difference in the world.  Now, since energy is the new labor, how will that source be enslaved?

Greeting, M. Simon. Nice to see you on the climate threads now and then. How's that fusion thing?

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