Generally, when discussion of an area’s crime rate begins, the implication -- good or bad, rise or fall -- is that law enforcement is to blame or credit. It’s an easy finger to point, however, to aim it at law enforcement is off the mark. Sheriffs and police chiefs have to take credit or blame because that’s the way the game is played -- and there is something to be said about increased police presence preventing certain crimes. But in the statistics in Thursday’s Telegraph, how is any law enforcement agency going to stop a 24 percent rise in shoplifting? Sheriff deputies and police officers can’t climb into the heads of these opportunity criminals and tell them to “Stop It.” All deputies and officers can do is be vigilant.
No, the finger of blame needs to point in other directions. We have generations of young men, in particular, who are under-educated and unemployed and have turned their life’s work into a criminal enterprise. We have a society that, rather than repel the notion of a thug life embraces it in song, film and video games. We have a criminal justice system that is over burdened by the numbers and a jail that can lock them up but at a cost of $55 a day per prisoner. Those are the facts we should think about when we see robberies up 18 percent and burglaries 14 percent.
The new Thomas Jackson Juvenile Justice Center hopes to address many of the issues that are on our streets today. If those programs are effective we might see a drop in the overall crime rate and a rise in our sense of security.