War on Gang War

Since we're all degenerate hippies -- well, most of us -- we're known to thumb the occasional copy of In These Times, where this week there appears a story headlined "The Counterproductive War on Gangs." Turns out, most of the info from the piece -- which insists increased law enforcement presence in gang-riddled parts of urban areas does little to actually prevent gang violence -- comes from a 108-page report called Gang Wars: The Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public Safety Strategies. It was issued in July by the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Justice Policy Institute.

And, indeed, Dallas is mentioned throughout the report, including this mention: "Dallas residents saw the incidence of 'gang-related' violence fall in target areas but had little to celebrate because the overall violent crime numbers rose during the intervention period." Much of the Dallas data seems to stem from numbers compiled after 1996 and '97 anti-gang initiatives, which the report deems ineffective. You will find the Dallas chapter begins on page 74 -- a little light Labor Day reading. --Robert Wilonsky

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