Tacoma police chief to focus on "hot spots"

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When you think of violent crime, you probably don’t think of Tacoma, Washington. After all, it’s not exactly Chicago or anything.

Yet every city has its challenges. What’s more, of late, most of those challenges do seem to be violent crime.

That’s true even in Tacoma, which has the police chief looking at doing something so silly that it just might work.

Tacoma’s police chief on Tuesday presented his plan for crime reduction in the city amid short staffing and rising crime rates.

Chief Avery Moore told council members at Tuesday’s study session that the plan is still in process, but has already had a soft rollout for its first portion with higher visibility and confronting “hot spot” crime areas in Tacoma.

Through “hot spot” policing, Moore said, the department has focused efforts on addressing crime patterns in the city using a data-driven approach.

Part of Moore’s plan included contracting with two criminologists at the University of Texas-San Antonio to assist in developing and evaluating the plan.

“From the perspective of really identifying locations where crime is being committed, the times of days, hours, the people … that’s what they do,” he told the council. ”That’s their expertise. They’re very good in it. I had a relationship with them in my former job, and again, I felt like they were what we needed here in Tacoma to really address the concerns of the residents of Tacoma.”

Honestly, there’s nothing “silly” about this approach. It’s the epitome of common sense, really. If you have areas where crime is higher, you focus your attention there until you can get it under control.

Unfortunately, all too often, someone will try and call such approaches “racist.”

Why? Because, for various reasons, these hot spots tend to be in majority-black neighborhoods. No, none of those reasons are because black people are more prone to violence or any such nonsense. The reasons are likely because of economics–black people tend to earn less than white people–or because of other, similar factors.

Yet when you focus on those neighborhoods, someone invariably feels like they’re being picked on because of their race.

It shouldn’t be that way. The truth is that most crime victims tend to be black, particularly with violent crime. Not focusing on these hot spots could be seen as racist by that same definition.

Regardless, the chief is making the right move.

Further, it’s a move that will work far, far better than any gun control measure ever could. After all, it focuses on the actual problems rather than just looking to scapegoat an inanimate object with no free will of its very own.

So, of course, some will probably get angry about this fact alone.

Tacoma is doing the exactly right thing as they proceed in addressing their violent crime issues. Other cities should start there before they even start to talk about gun control. If they do that, though, they’re likely to find that restricting people’s rights isn’t what they needed in the first place.