Friday, January 26, 2018

How Gang Policing is Criminalizing Whole Communities
“'Ceasefire' has been marketed as a more humane and precise form of law enforcement, but is now being used to hold large groups of people responsible for the conduct of a few. The result is a program that sounds progressive on its face, but has been used repeatedly in a form that focuses solely on its most carcercal aspects....

'Operation Ceasefire,' also known simply as 'Ceasefire,' was developed by a Boston-based criminologist named David Kennedy in the early 1990s. According to Kennedy, because crime “does not occur evenly” across a city, neither should policing. The first part of Kennedy’s model involves mapping out crime data, encouraging police to focus on violent parts of every city—almost always low-income communities of color. The theory went that, to help reduce gun violence in these mapped areas, police would reach out directly to groups of individuals considered 'at risk' and offer them social services as an alternative to incarceration....

But Kennedy’s model isn’t the clear success that its adherents claim it to be. In almost every iteration, Operation Ceasefire has failed to meaningfully reduce violence. And its emphasis on large-scale gang indictments, which work to criminalize entire social networks, risks incarcerating large numbers of young people, despite Kennedy’s claims that his method focuses on deterrence and mobilizing communities against violence."

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