Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Stirring Parents into the Mix

Was it just me, or did the mayor, DA, police chief and city council members look pretty well stumped as they made pronouncements yesterday about how we were going to get a handle on crime in New Orleans?

They're going to step up police patrols between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Uh, why wasn't that already being done?

NOPD Chief Riley is going to pull more officers off desk duty and put them on the streets. Good idea. Why did it take a public outcry to make that happen?

There's talk of hiring a "crime czar" to coordinate and oversee crime strategies--a police commissioner, in effect, to look at best practices from other cities. Didn't they all go trotting off to New York and Boston a year ago to look at best practices--with no results?

There's the proposal to install crime-surveillance cameras--25 per police district--at sites determined by the communities and NOPD. Great. At least you can have the shootings on film.

I shouldn't pooh-pooh these ideas because, goodness knows, it can't hurt. But in all the talks of increasing police presence and chiding the public for not coming forward as witnesses, I haven't heard a single comment addressed to the parents of the gun-toting teens who are holding our entire city hostage.

Excuse me, but don't you figure if your 15-year-old is out on the streets somewhere at 3 a.m., he's probably up to no good? Do you ever, pardon the pun, rifle through your kids' stuff to see if there are guns or drugs? Do you make your kids go to church? Participate in family activities? Account for himself in any way whatsoever? Do you ever even TALK to your kids in any meaningful way?

I propose arresting parents along with any offenders 18 and under. Maybe the threat of some jail time would create at least the illusion of responsible parenthood.

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