Some interesting threads over the weekend on crime in Milwaukee. First, Alderman Mike D'Amato's piece in yesterday's Journal-Sentinel about what to do. His response is, essentially, nothing. He wants to commission a study, but don't worry. It won't lead us to adopt "broken windows." That's so New York in the 1990s.
Mostly, he wants gun control. Let me make a concession. If I thought it could work and if the state and federal constitution permitted it, maybe it would be a good thing to remove handguns from the civilian population.
But, even if the federal constitution can be read to limit the right of gun ownership to militias, our state constitution cannot be. And even if it could, there are millions of handguns in circulation and those who use them to commit crimes are not likely to turn them in. I'm all for throwing the books at people who have handguns and should not (I am for concealed carry with stringent registration and qualification requirements) or who commit crimes with a gun, but the record of handgun control in reducing crime is unimpressive. It amounts to a nonanswer.
Second, and in contrast, is Bob Donovan's proposal for intensive policing. It's easy to lampoon this as calling for a police state and any movement toward "community policing" and "broken windows" must be undertaken with sensitivity. However, in a community where much of the social controls against crime and support for the law-abiding segment of the community (which constitutes the strong majority) have broken down, the restoration of order and a sense that it is possible to play by the rules is paramount. Patrick McIlheran makes the point well.
Finally, Patrick at Badger Blogger reminds us that the "black community" in Milwaukee is not the perpetrator. It is the victim.