Policing is very outmoded, even for outmoded laws.
Suppose I had the contract to take over security for a ghetto. Pick the worst bad-ass place you can think of, it doesn’t make a difference, this is engineering, not social work.
First thing I would do is distribute really cheap high quality cannabis, lots of it, everywhere. In the schools, on the streets, in the churches. A nice sativa, something to make people contemplate eternal verities. I believe leaders in those areas would see that it was good for their people, especially if I gave them a cut of the proceeds.*
The second thing I would do is start arming everyone, training them to take care of themselves around firearms and with firearms.** A lot of training, with games and role-play and plays that teach the attitude of tolerance you need to carry a firearm, how to handle different kind of situations when armed, big emphasis on cleverly diffusing and defusing. How to be nice folks and get along with armed people without anyone pulling out a gun every day or so. How polite and restrained and tolerant armed societies need to be to work well.
Retraining the social workers to do this will be fun.
The story has to be good to get cooperation of everyone, so tell them it is a big experiment, and they get to be lab rats, again. But this time, we give them guns, so if they don’t like the results of the experiment, they will be in control of further experimentation. We trust that, as full citizens of our great country, they will manage their piece of our joint civilization well.
Now we have security, and can get rid of the cops. Cops in the inner city are part of the problem, have not been part of any possible solution for many years. Actually, not so much the cops as the stupid laws. If we get rid of the cops, we can ignore the laws, and we can depend upon people to start getting things straightened out. That is a much easier path and more certain than waiting on laws to be repealed. Ignore them.
This is the point where my security management starts making tons of money, I just got rid of the cops and will nevertheless soon have a very minor crime rate. Mostly because there aren’t so many laws being enforced, of course, but also because the bad guys with guns now don’t have as much relative power. Everyone responds to incentives, and as soon as there are ordinary citizens walking the street with concealed weapons and grandmothers with sniper rifles on balconies and fathers and big brothers on stoops with shotguns, the crimes against average citizens will begin to decline. Drug dealers will continue their trade, but be safer. If they don’t cause anyone trouble, we don’t cause them trouble.
About the cheap cannabis: Anyone anywhere has access to drugs at some prices, so what users use is some combination of what they like and can afford. If I flood the market with cheap cannabis, some small percentage will indeed just get higher, but the great majority will decide cannabis is good enough or even better than the rotgut they could afford previously, and will spend their money on more important things. My inner city now has many fewer drunks and cranks and coksters staggering along its streets and lots more mellow, contemplative people sitting on their stoops admiring the scenery and talking, eating cookies. They can do that now because it is safe, everyone is armed.
As for the guns, the problem of inner city security is that they all are gun-free safety zones, so nobody is safe. The issues with gun-free safety zones are finally in the news because bunches of people are getting killed all at once, but people have been getting killed there in our inner cities for a long time, many people, but 1s and 2s don’t make the news. I guess our Republican NRA members didn’t think it important to include inner-city minorities in their defense of gun rights. That came along late, isn’t real for most cities yet, and it wasn’t led by the NRA. Yes, Democrats are worse.
The majority of people in the inner city are just poorer versions of you and me. Many good people live there and can be trusted. Currently, the others have all the guns. I would fix that, and their society would soon be very much safer, trending to as safe as ours.
At that point, having gotten rid of cops***, I would have a cash flow to use as I wish. So I would fund a militia. Collect some smart young folk who are selected by their community leaders, find trainers with good values and put them through whatever training is needed. With uniforms. Now we have a group with an identify that we can pay enough to use in community service work and responding to community emergencies.
At some point in here, the world sees that civilization has returned to the inner city, and it can be re-integrated with the economy and society. Note that, once my contract has ended, this inner city has much lower overhead than previously, because they don’t have cops under a union contract. Thus, their businesses have an advantage over competition in adjacent jurisdictions.
Re-integration into a normal world can’t happen before people feel safe enough, are trustworthy enough. It would help to have fewer drunks and such on the streets.
I predict this program would do it elegantly and cheaply. Cheap good drugs and effective weapons available to all are fundamental to a working society.
Conservative since the dawn of civilization.
Also, SECESSION and FREEDOM, in case you missed it.
*No cynicism here. Cannabis is superior from any medical or social point of view to other drugs, including alcohol. People can get cannabis everywhere, as an illegal drug there is currently no way for any people in the legal world to profit and control. So this puts the illegal suppliers at a disadvantage, and gives the legitimate community a way to profit and control. Indeed, some will abuse that : Let me know when a nature that doesn’t require tradeoffs arrives. Raising cannabis as community business would soon follow, and the surrounding metropolitan area would buy it.
**Simple version, there would be structure and suggestions that more training in particular areas are needed. The goal is a weapon used safely by everybody who wants one, but some might have to be convinced they shouldn’t want one. A later thought : can’t stop anyone from buying a gun on their own, but we would give them out for free to anyone who passes the course, a rite of passage to full functioning member of the community. A free gun beats certificates in stating that.
***Overlap for a while of course, careful selection of the people turfed out. Let the people vote, they know who is who.
Added later : I found a review article on the psychiatric studies of cannabis. In addition to the problem that psychology and psychiatry have the lowest replication rates in science, the review’s estimate of its own limitations are. Many young people among my son’s friends use cannabis. The worst thing any of them have ever experienced, or heard of anyone experiencing, is throwing up from too high a dose of cannabis. That happens rarely, and only with new users. Cannabis has been treated as a powerful drug in anti-drug propaganda for nearly 100 years in the US. That has to affect self-reported symptoms, a point not discussed in this study :
The available literature shows a preponderance of case reports and uncontrolled studies.
Epidemiological findings from one setting cannot be assumed to generalise to other cultural groups.
It is not easy to determine causal explanations from the studies cited.