Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How a Thug-Town Evolves

I'm writing this essay over the Koln riot episode and the tendency of things that develop.  I'm speaking at the science of this evolution, using mostly US or British events to tell the simple story.

Thug-towns don't just appear out of thin air. They need certain elements to them a chance to grow and thrive.

So you start with an element of society that needs special favors or accommodations.  Politicians in leadership positions start to discourage the local prosecutor and local law enforcement from performing their full duty and responsibility.

It's a gentle push.....this part of town has this particular group.  If they loiter around on the don't hinder them.  If they seem to behave differently from the normal don't impede them.  If they hang out late at night and seem to be looking for don't interrupt them.

As time goes by....this crowd discovers that they have free access and rarely get bothered by the cops.  Drug sales increase....bad behavior is regularly practiced....cops look the other way.

When the locals start to stir up the pot and try to talk to the politicians....they mostly grin for the cameras and talk about a multicultural environment and how we should all work together in harmony.

Time passes, and now the public is incensed about the cops and the lack of law enforcement.  Assaults go up....robberies are a daily event....people feel threatened.

People start to label all the double-talk from the politicians as theater-script.  They don't believe what the leadership says....what the party says....or what journalists write of the great era ahead.

Then one day....some big episode occurs where some violent assault is noted by the public, or some death occurs by the thugs.  Now, the politician goes to confront the prosecutor and the cops....saying they need to get aggressive finally.

Well, it's a funny thing.  All this time as the cops sat and let things fester and develop.....they got more fearful of the thugs.  That part of town?  They don't patrol there anymore.  If called to confront some don't go unless you got a dozen other cops going into the no-go area of town.  So the cops might hear the order to get serious, but it's really too late for them feel compassion for the politician or the locals.

So, nothing happens.

Days pass, weeks pass, and months pass.  The public feels less and less secure about their landscape and city.  The thugs know the score, and that there's not much going to happen to them.

So the locals go the news media in hope of getting some reaction....some hope....some change.  The news media bought off on the original premise of the politicians (be supportive of the lesser-people....don't challenge perceptions....accuse people of extremist behavior....control the message and theme of any news item that might be negative).  After a while, the local realize that the news media is as much a problem of the mess, as anything else.

The cops finally get pressed into the corner and react to the public's clamor for aggressive law enforcement. can't have that unless we get all these new technology toys (computers, cameras, sensors, etc) and you hire more cops (a ten-percent increase is usually the bartering point of such talk).

Initially, the first time around.....people buy off on the technology tricks and more cops.  But after a while...with no real change or success....the public starts to ask questions, and the solution to episode two is a second round of more technology and more cops.  The public then asks.....if you can't do the job with the present number of cops.....why bother putting more cops into coffee shops or sitting in dark corners because they have some instinctive fear about patrolling or taking down thugs.

Several things start to occur at this point which the news media happens to grasp.

Folks start to move out of town.....leaving the no-go area, and helping to devalue the area around the no-go region.  Urban towns benefit from the growth and expand....having their cop staff expand and they kinda mark a territory as no-go forbidden area (no loitering, people questioned about who they are, and cameras get thrown into the mix).  The news media finally starts to ask stupid questions of the politicians on why this city is losing population and urban decay is expanding.  The politician knows the answer but he can't really say it in a public forum.

At some last moment of breakage....the city council and leadership finally fire the top cops, bring in a bunch of new cops with no connection to the community, and tell them to get tough.  This least for a while, until the politicians are desperate for votes and tell the cops to finally back-off and allow the thugs to regain footing.

I'm not a German, and I don't consider myself a German expert.....but I've seen the recipe for a fine urban mess to develop and grow.  It works in a simplistic fashion, and repeats itself over and matter what language is spoken or what degree of civility exists.  You can make a thug-town easily.....if you just stand back and let things develop on their own. humble two cents of analysis.

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