Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Crime Statistics

My pennyworth on Crime Statistics

When truth is the victim

..... (follow up comment addressed to FrogBlog & Russell Brown)

Responding to the many who have contributed to the crime statistics thread, I am glad to see there is some measure of oversight.

Crime is not just what is reported. Victims 'self report' exceeded the offense statistics. Uninsured 'burglary' and dishonesty is an example. Another, and the GREENS executive know this but fail to connect the dots is the prevalence of 'drug related' crime, again not analysed in any meaningful way.

The nexus of many crimes of dishonesty is prohibition related. Criminogenic in nature prohibitory social engineering escapes due scrutiny because contemporary analysis is conveniently simplistic, and (any) conclusion runs counter to prevailing political paradigms. There has NEVER been a cost benefit analysis of prohibition. What you cant measure you cannot manage.

Key matters arising from drug related crime is it being characterized by the vicious and often fatal outcomes, extended duration of inquiry, expense to prosecute and the difficulty of obtaining conviction(and resolution). These are all unmeasured.

The trial of those accused of Phillip Cowan's bodyless murder trial (Operation VeeDub) cost over a million dollars. The inquiry even more. The truth was never discovered. What price 'justice' ?

Many prohibition related murders remain unresolved and some, where legally concluded still carry the baggage of significant doubt. Deviancy amplification is a consequence of the identified poor public health policy putting at stake, the integrity of the 'law' and thus governance. Simplified statistics for offenses disguises what is really broken while the societal cost of disrespect for rule of law is simply unaccounted.

What consequence is borne by all when Police are held in disrepute?
(i.e.: the flood of PCA cases are a predictable outcome of social doubt )

The systemic failure here in New Zealand is having national Police 'anti-drug' protocols deficit funded. Drug interdiction activity is an easy way to top up the budgets. Drug related work is billed in half hour units. Just the same as Road Safety is billed to LTSA except... the LTSA $$ pool is finite.

Value and performance and return on investment are not words in the anti drug lexicon. It is, quite simply 'allow' [or maintain] the matrix of dysfunction' at all costs. The market mechanism is self interest entrenches prohibition practice, anyone one who speaks up is a 'pro drug' loony, and politicians play 'tough on crime'.

Until there is a cost benefit analysis (one was budgeted for, but dropped due to the legislative implications) crime statistics will remain lies, lies and damned lies.

500 ++ Economists, including three nobel laureates called for such a study to be made... but the political economists, like Brash and others... duck for cover shying from any "soft on drugs" label and pretending that there are 'more important matters'.

Yet the nexus of harm reduced drug policy would see crime drop massively along with prison musters. Effective drug policy would render the current bunch of politicians 'stupid'.

Thankfully there is a global trend that increasingly marginalises those who continue to see altered states as 'evil' and the demand for drugs as 'eliminatable'. Such terms are historical anachronisms. Our current crime levels, what ever they are, are unacceptable. We should all be regaling.
"A maxim for the twenty-first century might well be to start by not fighting evil in the name of good, but by attacking the certainties of people who claim always to know where good and evil are to be found."  Tzvetan Todorov
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