Criminal Justice Prof On Challenges of Police/Minority Issue
Todd Clear, Professor at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University-Newark, analyzes why the police/minority conversation is a challenging one to have.
"We're now joined by Professor Todd Clear of the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University in Newark. Good to see you, Doctor. Nice to be here. Thank you. You are one of the top experts in this country when it comes to the issue of criminal justice and the question of the challenge of police/minority relations. You are joining us for this conversation here in Newark, New Jersey, on this question. Why is it so difficult for so many to have an honest dialogue about police/minority relations? I think it's because there's a lot of mythology about the problems of crime in... in places like Newark. There's a lot of belief that... the the solutions should be simple. People should be able to get this stuff worked out very quickly. And I think we have such a long history of exclusion and a lack of investment in cities, dis-investment in cities that it makes it very hard for a place like Newark to... to achieve the destiny that it... it could. And then it creates strains between the law-enforcement authorities and the people in the community. Those strains then get played out as political ideas, as people want to use them for, you know, for benefit, running for office or trying to make a point or trying to get some funding for this, that, or the other thing. And for the people who live in the middle of that... the police officers and the residents of Newark... all of those things going on outside are not solutions to make it so that Newark is a safer place, where people can live and raise their kids. You did some work in the South Ward of Newark, which is a big piece of the city, one of the largest wards. Tell folks what you found and why is it relevant to the folks in the tri-state area watching us. So, a crime in Newark... a violent crime in Newark... concentrates in a very small number of locations. It concentrates among a small number of people. What that means is that this idea that, you know, Newark is a... I don't know. People say war zone, It's just simply not true. We... we learned when we looked at the data, for example, that, when you look at individual street segments in the city of Newark, every year at least 80% and sometimes as many as 90% don't experience a single crime. The concentration is so much that 4% of the residents of the city of Newark are estimated to be involved in 60% of the shootings. So, and in terms of location, places like South Ward and the West Ward have much higher rates of shootings and homicides than other parts of the city. Parts of the city of Newark are as safe as anywhere else in the nation..."