2010 February 28 Sunday
Santa Barbara County Crime Wave?

The Daily Sound reports the tragic details.

The spike in crime is particularly intense with murders and attempted murders, which have risen 588 percent in the last decade, according to the number such cases filed by the district attorney’s office.

“I think the numbers do really speak for themselves,” said Ann Bramsen, the county’s acting district attorney. “Nobody has to be in a position to exaggerate anything. [The numbers] just sort of are what they are and we are working vigilantly to prosecute the cases and hold the offenders accountable for the violent crimes they’re committing.”

Meanwhile the county has a $40 million budget deficit and is cutting law enforcement spending. I saw a public access channel county supervisors budget hearing and the cost per county employee has gone from below $90k in the 2004-2005 FY to almost $120k this year. They signed union deals that make total personnel costs surge. Non-union employees have got freezes and cuts. Union employees are getting raises. Of course this leads to cuts in personnel - including law enforcement personnel.

Ron Unz argues that once one adjusts for age Hispanics are not notably lawless. Okay, so then is the Santa Barbara County Hispanic gang crime wave problem atypical? Or does the county have an especially young Hispanic population? Or are criminals just attracted to the nice weather?

Update: Santa Barbara's crime rate seems stable. However, since the population is aging that probably indicates a rise in criminality for people 18-29. Since Carpinteria seems to have a third the crime rate one could always flee to the suburbs.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 February 28 05:16 PM  Immigration Crime

Stephen said at February 28, 2010 8:23 PM:

Society made them do it...

In small preindustrial societies, the passage to adult status is relatively simple and continuous. Formal "rites of passage" at relatively early ages avoid much of the status ambiguity and role conflict that torment modern adolescents in the developed world. Youths begin to assume responsible and economically productive roles well before they reach full physical maturity. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that such societies and time periods have significantly flatter and less skewed age-crime patterns (for a review, see Steffensmeier et al., 1989).

Much the same is true for earlier periods in the history of the United States and other industrial nations, when farm youth were crucial for harvesting crops and working-class children were expected to leave school at an early age and do their part in helping to support their families. By contrast, "The typical job a teenager can get today provides neither the self-pride of economic independence not the socializing benefits of working alongside adult mentors. . .. Work relations seem to have been critical experiences for the socialization of many young men in the past. Such jobs integrated youths into adult society . . . instead of segregating them in a separate peer culture" (Coontz, p. 29).

Taken from a research paper "Age and Crime - Variations in the Age Curve". Elsewhere the paper makes the point that age = opportunity. In other words, the types of crime committed derives from opportunity which in turn derives from age.

Black Death said at March 1, 2010 10:46 AM:

Of the eight current residents of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department Most Wanted list, seven are Hispanic (the other is Asiatic).


Mercer said at March 1, 2010 1:31 PM:

I think Unz is doing his best to manipulate the numbers. Two years ago the pro Hispanic Pew Center released a report that had a detailed breakdown of the nation's prison population on page 34. It had the highest incarceration rates with men in their early twenties. The prison rates were 1 in 9 for blacks, 1 in 60 for whites and 1 in 24 for Hispanics.


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