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Posts published in “Day: April 14, 2012”

Enforcement by geography

Crying out for a study: Do the "emphasis areas" on drugs and prostitution (and sometimes other things, like alcohol offenses work? Or is this one of those intuitively-sensible ideas that go nowhere on closer inspection?

The idea is to identify areas where a negative activity is taking place - 82nd Street in Portland, say - and bust up some of the aggregative activity by banning people convicted of the offense from going there.

King County Council member Reagan Dunn (who is, not to make a perjorative out of this, running for attorney general) points out in a recent release that "In 2011, there were 802 gang-related incidents reported in King County. According to the King County Sheriff’s Office, there has been a 165 percent increase in gang-related crime since 2005. Judges currently have the ability to restrict individuals convicted of drug or prostitution-related offenses from entering specially designated areas."

Dunn's thought is to extend the principle to gang activity.

It has the sound of a reasonable idea, especially since - more than most of the other kinds of activity where this has been tried - gang activity tends to be geography-based.

But does it work? We've not seen much by way of comprehensive studies providing an indicator, one way or the other. This could be a useful tool, especially for gang enforcement, if it does work. Maybe someone should get a clearer answer to whether it does.