Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

Well as long as DC’s new police state only affects those people in NE …

with one comment

My first thought upon reading that the DC Council will be quarantining off entire neighborhoods and requiring anyone entering or leaving to present identification and a reason for their visit was ohmygod, seriously? I assumed that would be most people’s reaction. I assumed wrong.

I told a co-worker about it this morning, and she said, “Well, good. They’ve got to do something to stop the crime over there.”

I’m still trying to understand how this will possibly stop any crime at all. Anyone can make up a “legitimate reason” to enter the neighborhood – it’s not like you have to prove you have friends or family in the area to say you’re visiting friends or family. And—as others have pointed out—the majority of crime in the area is not committed by nefarious outsiders. Not that the plan would actually stop any potential nefarious outsiders from entering – police won’t be checking pedestrians (Megan McArdle notes that this is “slightly less offensive, but also infinitely more pointless”).

But let’s just, for the sake of argument, say this proposal makes any sense at all; that it has a small, small potential of reducing violent crime in the area. It is, of course, still ridiculously infringing on residents’ rights. How do people justify the tradeoff?

Look closer at my co-worker’s statement: They’ve got to do something to stop crime over there. For a lot of people in DC, the Trinidad area (where the quarantines are taking place) represent some sort of other world, another DC they only hear about through crime reports (or maybe when Joe Englert opens another bar). And I guess if you think of the area as some sort of crime-ridden drug and war zone, it’s easy not to care that the DC Council is essentially turning NE DC into a police state. It doesn’t affect you. It doesn’t affect good people like you. But the truth is, the area is full of long-time neighborhood residents, the majority of whom are, you know, not killing people. Can you imagine how it would make you feel if every time you tried to enter or leave your neighborhood, you had to present ID and state your case to the police? Why should the people in these neighborhoods have to deal with this?

Even scarier, the Post reports:

Police will search cars if they suspect the presence of guns or drugs, and will arrest people who do not cooperate, under a charge of failure to obey a police officer, officials said.

What are the criteria for suspicion of guns or drugs? God, this is so outrageous …

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Written by Elizabeth

June 5, 2008 at 3:33 pm

One Response

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  1. My (white) coworker, who lives in NE and whose neighbor recently got shot, finds this plan as absurd as I do. It seems completely pointless. They’re searching and stopping cars–which brings up the obvious problems–but not pedestrians. So I’ve made a mental, that when planning to kill someone, get out of my car and walk there. This just seems like the worst kind of band-aid that won’t change anything in the long run. It’ll get shouted down after a week or two, and then crime rates with probably rise again. With relations between police and residents even worse, because they’re being treated like suspects in a police state.

    erinelizabeth

    June 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm


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Well as long as DC’s new police state only affects those people in NE …

with one comment

My first thought upon reading that the DC Council will be quarantining off entire neighborhoods and requiring anyone entering or leaving to present identification and a reason for their visit was ohmygod, seriously? I assumed that would be most people’s reaction. I assumed wrong.

I told a co-worker about it this morning, and she said, “Well, good. They’ve got to do something to stop the crime over there.”

I’m still trying to understand how this will possibly stop any crime at all. Anyone can make up a “legitimate reason” to enter the neighborhood – it’s not like you have to prove you have friends or family in the area to say you’re visiting friends or family. And—as others have pointed out—the majority of crime in the area is not committed by nefarious outsiders. Not that the plan would actually stop any potential nefarious outsiders from entering – police won’t be checking pedestrians (Megan McArdle notes that this is “slightly less offensive, but also infinitely more pointless”).

But let’s just, for the sake of argument, say this proposal makes any sense at all; that it has a small, small potential of reducing violent crime in the area. It is, of course, still ridiculously infringing on residents’ rights. How do people justify the tradeoff?

Look closer at my co-worker’s statement: They’ve got to do something to stop crime over there. For a lot of people in DC, the Trinidad area (where the quarantines are taking place) represent some sort of other world, another DC they only hear about through crime reports (or maybe when Joe Englert opens another bar). And I guess if you think of the area as some sort of crime-ridden drug and war zone, it’s easy not to care that the DC Council is essentially turning NE DC into a police state. It doesn’t affect you. It doesn’t affect good people like you. But the truth is, the area is full of long-time neighborhood residents, the majority of whom are, you know, not killing people. Can you imagine how it would make you feel if every time you tried to enter or leave your neighborhood, you had to present ID and state your case to the police? Why should the people in these neighborhoods have to deal with this?

Even scarier, the Post reports:

Police will search cars if they suspect the presence of guns or drugs, and will arrest people who do not cooperate, under a charge of failure to obey a police officer, officials said.

What are the criteria for suspicion of guns or drugs? God, this is so outrageous …

Written by Elizabeth

June 5, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Posted in The Best Things

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. My (white) coworker, who lives in NE and whose neighbor recently got shot, finds this plan as absurd as I do. It seems completely pointless. They’re searching and stopping cars–which brings up the obvious problems–but not pedestrians. So I’ve made a mental, that when planning to kill someone, get out of my car and walk there. This just seems like the worst kind of band-aid that won’t change anything in the long run. It’ll get shouted down after a week or two, and then crime rates with probably rise again. With relations between police and residents even worse, because they’re being treated like suspects in a police state.

    erinelizabeth

    June 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm


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