This just keeps coming up:
Katrina fatigue erupted into anger and frustration Wednesday night, as more than 1,700 west Houston residents urged Mayor Bill White to send evacuees home to New Orleans.
I’m going to say this as simply as possible:
For many evacuees, there is no “home” in New Orleans right now.
Roughly 100,000 Houstonians had a New Orleans mailing address a year ago, but they live here now. Some folks may eventually be able to move back, but it isn’t feasable today.
One year after the city of Houston welcomed at least 250,000 evacuees, more than 100,000 New Orleans natives still remain. West Houston residents who gathered Wednesday at Grace Presbyterian Church to address increases in violent crime over the past year in their community said evacuees are to blame.
Sorry, but Houston was not some kind of crime-free oasis prior to September 2005. The HPD is seriously understaffed… and has been. Yes, it’s true that some former New Orleanians are committing crimes, and Houston’s violent crime rate is up…. as are other cities across America (WaPo).
Crime is at a “tipping point” in America, said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which organized the National Violent Crime Summit.
“We are turning the country over to our young people, and they are killing each other,” said Dean Esserman, police chief of Providence, R.I., where robberies have increased. “Violence has become gratuitous. Where is the moral outrage?”
Anthony Braga, criminologist at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, said criminals’ “rules of engagement” changed in the 1990s, when teenagers were increasingly shooting each other over petty disputes and perceived slights.
“The youth are clearly driving this,” he said. “The age of these kids is going down as the years pass.”
The heart of the problem is with the young people. “Youths” and “teens” are standard euphemisms for a national epidemic, and complaining that “evacuees aren’t getting jobs” sounds pretty silly when you’re talking about 15- or 16-year olds with guns and no boundaries.
Houston’s violent crime issue has more in common with the rest of the country, though, than the ages of most of its perpetrators: most of these municipalities’ police departments are under-resourced. Whether through attrition, low recruitment, or lack of attention, the focus has not been on local crime (Mercury News):
Some experts say that declining federal grants for crime-fighting could be contributing to the rise in crime. But they note that other factors are probably involved as well, including a generation of criminals incarcerated in the 1980s and `90s that is now returning to the streets.
“It is true that the federal support for local law enforcement and preventive programs has plummeted,” said David Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “I think that matters. I would say that’s not the only thing going on, but it does hurt.”
Senior lawmakers in Congress agree.
Houston has no corner on the crime market, but with all the Katrina-centric blame-gaming, it’s starting to sound like a mean-spirited, myopic city of whiners — very disappointing in the face of its reputation as an energetic beehive populated with creative, entrepreneurial problem-solvers.
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