A city under a social experiment

Follow me on this one, folks. According to fox40.com, the Sacramento Police Department has a theory, well it appears they have several, but at any rate.

…they’re looking to stop crime at it’s lowest level. “You stop the smaller crimes, you stop the social disorder, it’ll have a prevention effect,” says Sgt. Renee Mitchell of the Sacramento Police Department. In other words, stop the purse snatching, prevent the murder.

Hmm, okay. I’ve always believed in the theory that states, “Stop the purse snatching, prevent someone from losing their purse.” But, I’m willing to go with it.

Detectives have identified 42 spots in the city where they get called — a lot. For the next 90 days, you’ll see more officers at half of those locations, at random times throughout the day.

How long before the Sacramento Bee comes up with an interactive map detailing these 42 spots and when the cops will be there? (I wrote this as a joke, only to find this at sacbee.com!)

Think of it as a city under a social experiement. The thought is if criminals don’t know when cops are going to be there, they’ll be less likely to commit crimes. Conversely, if the officers are broken of their patrol habits, they’ll be more vigilant and therefore more likely to spot trouble.


What do you think? Who is being tested here, the criminals or the police officers?

Author: RonTopofIt

RonTopofIt is a complex personality, as are most of the small breed of modern day renaissance millionaires. He wishes more people were like him and yet believes that it takes all kinds. You've met RonTopofIt many times, you just don't remember him.

7 thoughts on “A city under a social experiment”

  1. I think it’s definitely worth a shot. I’m going to guess that the crimes they are after are not generated by people who would examine the map to pick their next heist. But I could be wrong.


  2. It should work fine. If move all the handbag-snatching activity to these three “Free zones” the thought is that it will deter murder in other areas. Just when they start getting comfortable with unmolested purse snatching in the free zones, we come down hard on them.


  3. So they are going to take some areas where there are lots of murders and really crack down on purse snatching in those areas? Maybe the ugh-worthy reporting is getting in the way of my reading of it.


  4. Seems like just another take on the “Broken Window” theory of crime prevention used by Guiliani in New York in the 90’s. The idea is to make lawless behavior socially unacceptable.


    However, the same wiki article mentions that the Freakanomics guys found a strong correlation between NY’s crime drop and the legalization of abortion 15-20 years earlier, and not the Broken Window policing.

    So maybe a better social experiment would be for the Sac Police to perform random abortions in the targetted high crime areas. Then we just have to wait 15-20 years to review the data and see if it worked.


  5. Cogmeyer’s theory is sound, but you’d still need a control group in low crime areas. We know how the heuty teuty East Sac crowd would be all, “ya’ll can’t do that to me!” and get indignant and suey and whatnot. Just another example of the man keepin’ the regular folk down .

    That said, I know that after I’ve been ticketed/rousted for loitering/purse snatching, etc., I tend to get a little stabby with my fellow man, so I’m not so sure about this theory…


  6. Looking at the map, I learned… not much. Highest calls? Downtown, Del Paso, Roosevelt Park. I was happy to see that Sac PD does not have many calls at East Lawn Cemetery, Cal Expo, Haggin Oaks Golf Course or the old dump. *whew!*


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