Police create the Crime
The police cannot continue to exist. They were created on irredeemable values and goals; like reenslaving escaped slaves and enforcing unnecessary terror and violence within communities. Slaves no longer exist, though the police continue the tradition of robbing humans of their own autonomy through the system of keeping people incarcerated. Police presence wreaks havoc on lower income communities. Our modern policing is just a reframed version of what slave patrollers were told to do hundreds of years ago, that the police continue to create and support through the prison system. Support for the police stems from the fear of crime. The belief that when the police are present crime will decrease. An unfortunate truth though is that the places with the highest police presence do not have the highest crime rates, they have the highest white population. Police presence in one community is not the same as the other, overpolicing and highly surveiled life has become far too often a common occurrence. If supporters of the police support law enforcment believe that police’s presence decreases crime it is simply not true. I’d go further to say that police presence is less of an indication of crime and more of an indication of control. Control of the neighborhood and its inhabitants, a show of power to latinx, black, and indigenous people of color. When the police are present crime doesn’t cease to exist, where can we continue to find justification for their presence? Admitting that the police don’t prevent crime means we as a society must admit to ourselves there is a bigger reason we are so reluctant to let go of this branch of government that continues to abuse its citizens.
Incarceration supporters subcribe to the idea of ‘out of sight out of mind’ when it comes to incarcerated persons. Many continue to subscribe to the rhetoric of ‘The War on Crime’ that created this increased police presence across America. According to conservative scholar, Arthur Rizer, within Nixon’s acceptance speech at the Republican convention in 1968, he used the words law and order over 21 times. From our knowledge of history we know that this is simultaneously occurring with the rise of the civil rights movements that occurred from 1965-1977. I suggest to my conservative reader to see this as not a coincidence but as a methodical effort of increased policing and incarceration through the dehumanization of black communites.
Arthur Zimmer and Laus Trautman are conservative scholars who believe in conservatism but are also able to recognize incarceration as an issue that proceeds political beliefs in their article, The Conservative Case for Criminal Justice Reform, even they are able to recognize the alarming issue incarceration has created for us as a society. They say, “ Over the course of almost half a century, this war on crime helped to quadruple America’s incarceration rates.” If the government is waging a war on crime, should the goal not be for the crime to cease? In the same article they state, “363 in the 1960s, then rose further to 548 in the 1970s, then to 663 in the 1980s”, about violent crime within the United States. They use this statistic to find justification that the creation of the war on crime as justified but I believe it does the opposite. There was crime that existed before the mobiliztion of the police but in the efforts of depleting the crime that existed it increaseed. If the war on crime is not about decreasing crime we can only conclude that its’ goal and the goal of the police furthmore is to increase incarceration not prevent crime from happening. Acordding to J. David Hacker at the National Libary of Medicine, at the height of slavery the most people ever enslaved was, “approximately 10 million slaves lived in the United States, where they contributed 410 billion hours of labor.” In 2023, not including those experiencing so many different forms of incarceration, like halfway houses or parole according to Prison Policy Organizition there are, 1.9 million people incarcerated. From Alexi Jones at Prison Policy, “4.9 million people are arrested and jailed each year, and at least one in 4 of those individuals are booked into jail more than once during the same year.” If the point of prison is retribution what is the point if once they get out they are all the more likely to return?
National Library of Medicine, From ’20. and Odd’ To 10 Million: The Growth of the Slave population in the United States. Accessed 2023
Trautman, Laus and Zimmer Arthur, The Conservative Case for Criminal Justice Reform, 2018
Policy, prison, How Many people are locked up in the united states?, Accessed 2023