Monday, November 20, 2006

Ruminations about Crime

Today was another day in the life of a Paramedic-turned-paper-pusher. Six hours to do three days worth of work - I can't complain. Down two hours from last Monday. It's mindless, though; I almost don't have to think about what I'm doing. That said, however, it is starting to drive me crazy. I want to go back to work.

I read this article today in the online Union Leader. Terry McKenzie, one of the Manchester police officers I know, wrote this about the crime rate in the city. He made a very good point in saying to the effect that it's the complacency of Manchester's residents over the past few years that has affected the amount and type of crime that is being commited now. And I think, at least in part, that he is right. People have a tendency to relax when a problem, like the crime rate that Manchester had in the early '90's was cut down, thanks to effective policing. Another point he makes has to do with various groups living in the city now. He warns Manchester's citizens not to point fingers at the different ethnic groups and cultures that now exist in the Queen City. This is well worth thinking about, and it's easy for people to point fingers at anyone who is perceived to be different from them and blame them for the trouble that has come. I think that there is merit to that point of view; much of what has happened, and continues to happen with respect to crime, is not happening due to cultures or ethnic groups per se. What I mean is that the increase in crime can't be blamed on any group of people. That isn't right, and it isn't fair.

What I can say, however, is that increased crime is an unfortunate by-product of growth. Face it, Manchester has seen a lot of growth over the past 10 years, and with it there has been some increase in crime. Granted, that increase has recently become more intense, especially over the past 10-11 months. The murder of Officer Mike Briggs has really put that increase in intensity out for everyone to see, and that crime isn't one that can be attached to a group of people. It has been attached to one person: Michael Addison. For that matter, any crimes that are committed shouldn't be attached to groups or cultures; they should be attached to those individuals who are alleged (or proven) to have committed them.

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