Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cops and the Cycle of Crime

I've got to tell you, I've vacillated back and forth on the whole "Should police officers live within the city limits?" deal.

On the one hand, I kind of think that if you work for the city, you should live in the city. It's like how employees of Coke shouldn't be seen drinking Pepsi (and vice versa). Only it's worse, because it means taking Memphis money — paid by local taxpayers — and spending it on homes, goods, and services somewhere else.

I'm not saying you're biting the hand that feeds you, but you aren't nuzzling against it, either.

On the other hand, people are victims of crime or just hear about something horrible (say, the theft of Annabelle Hulgan's $8,000 custom-made wheelchair) and they think, understandably, I don't want to live in a place where that happens.

And that includes police officers and their families.

The irony is that one of the ways to attract new officers who would want to live inside the city limits is to lower the crime rate.

(And, frankly, that's the way to attract other people, too. That and taxes.)

If more officers — even ones that live outside Memphis — can help do that, it's something we need to consider, even if it's just as a stop-gap measure.

Yesterday, at the Leadership Academy's panel with young politicos, councilmember Shea Flinn said that lowering the crime rate would allow the city to get more economic development.

His new colleague, Kemp Conrad, said, "Memphis has lost 7 percent of its population in the last 10 years if you don't count annexation. That's scary. ... We need rapid change."

In the ideal world, I would want all the Memphis officers to live in Memphis. But the truth is — we don't live in an ideal world.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I don't care where they live- we just need more cops. The crime here is ridiculous, and I don't see the logic in turning away anyone willing to help fight it. Why are we more worried about a few tax dollars than we are about the safety of our citizens? This whole discussion just makes no sense to me. However, I realize my opinion is strongly colored by the multiple times my house and cars have been broken into.