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Berkeley Law Professors to Suggest Ways to Make Oakland Safer

Next Tuesday, April 23 and Wednesday, April 24, UC Berkeley Law Professors Franklin Zimring and Justin McCrary will provide Oakland residents with presentation on how to make the city safer.

Released by the City of Oakland:

UC Berkeley law professors will make public presentations to Oakland residents about their thoughts on how to make Oakland safer.

Next Tuesday, April 23 and Wednesday, April 24, professors Franklin Zimring and Justin McCrary — prominent scholars studying public safety in America today — will make seperate presenations.

Oakland City Councilmember Libby Schaaf arranged for Zimring to give a presentation entitled “What Can Oakland Learn From New York About Reducing Crime” before the Oakland City Council’s Public Safety Committee in City Council Chambers on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

McCrary will appear at Councilmember Schaaf’s Safe Oakland Speaker Series at Holy Names University on Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m.

Both events are free and open to the public.

“I encourage Oakland residents to learn all we can about how to make Oakland safer,” Schaaf said. “We are fortunate to have access to some of the most prominent academics in the country studying ways to make American cities safer, and I hope Oaklanders will come out to hear what these national experts have to say.”

Zimring’s recent book, “The City That Became Safe: New York’s Lessons for Urban Crime and Its Control,” traces the declining crime rates in New York City.

The book has been hailed as the most important work in criminology in recent memory. Zimring concludes that “The only obvious candidate to take credit for the city's crime decline—was policing.”

He credits NYPD’s "hotspots" strategy and their management and data-mapping system called CompStat.

Zimring proves several factors were not responsible for New York’s success, including decreased poverty, lower unemployment, less drug use, or higher incarceration rates.

In fact, New York’s effective policing caused a significant decrease in incarceration—creating a savings that more than pays for the increased police.

“New York City has proven it is possible—big cities can become safe,” Schaaf said. “New York has reduced crimes like murder, robbery and burglary by more than 80 percent and sustained it for 20 years — a record to which no other American city comes close. I look forward to hearing from Professor Zimring about how Oakland can learn some valuable lessons from New York.”

On Wednesday, April 24, McCrary will discuss the economics of safety and policing at Councilmember Schaaf’s Safe Oakland Speaker Series at Holy Names University. Other officials will also be on hand to respond to questions, including Police Chief Howard Jordan and State Assemblymember Rob Bonta.

McCrary will share findings from his recent study, “The Effect of Police on Crime: New Evidence from U.S. Cities, 1960-2010,” including a cost-benefits analysis of policing.

Professor McCrary’s recent study reveals that an increased police presence has consistently been found to reduce crime.

His study deems Oakland the 24th most under-policed of the 242 largest cities in the United States, and concludes that every dollar spent on increasing police in Oakland would generate $2.90 in reduced victimization costs. He will also discuss the role technology might play in understaffed departments such as Oakland.

“Oakland has been investing—and should continue to invest—in effective crime prevention and intervention strategies,” Schaaf said, mentioning Head Start, job training, after-school programs and Ceasefire as several successful examples. “But we have failed to maintain adequate policing, despite mounting evidence of its effectiveness.”

Berkeley resident April 22, 2013 at 03:41 PM
can the Berkeley professors help Berkeley also?

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