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Police don't prevent crime [Letter]

There have been a number of recent articles suggesting that crime rates are related to policing. Actually, the two are unrelated. Most crimes are either founded in economics or in misdirected emotion.

Police have neither influence nor control over either of these causes. Ninety-nine percent of police work occurs after a crime has been committed. The only relationship police have to crime is that some crimes are deterred because of the consequences of getting caught. But since most "criminals" do not think they will be caught, the deterrent effect is small.

Thus there is no relationship between "good police work" and crime. Police should neither be blamed nor credited according to the "crime rate," which is itself a subjective estimate of how society functions. A competitive society will result in crime as its inhabitants compete.

The "law" describes which kinds of competition are allowable. But the law itself is adjusted to favor some over others. "Some rob you with a gun and some with a fountain pen." We should not look to the police to stop crime, but to how our society is constructed.

William L. Akers, Windsor Mill

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To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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