Friday, April 30, 2004

Ruh Oh!

The long public transit transit strike in Minneapolis- St. Paul had some interesting effects according to the Red Star Tribune - Some crime ebbed during bus strike:
The anecdotal stories that crime was decreasing in downtown Minneapolis, St. Paul and at the Mall of America started soon after the Metro Transit strike began in early March.

Curious about what might be happening, police began discreetly monitoring crime figures and found some intriguing numbers.

• Police calls at the Mall of America, especially on weekends, were down by as much as 21 percent.

• Arrests in downtown Minneapolis had dropped.

• In St. Paul, police calls for so-called "quality of life" complaints, such as narcotics sales near bus stops, also had fallen.

After the metro area's first transit strike in a decade, the possible relationship between the strike and crime has become a much-debated -- and politically touchy -- issue. Critics complain that the focus unnecessarily paints an unflattering portrait of bus riders.
No word on "letting the chips fall where they may."
Jon Pratt, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, also said such comparisons are unsettling. "I wouldn't say it's a disservice to draw those connections. [But] there is kind of a sport in picking on the poor and trying to point out their foibles," he said.
Er, foibles? And it isn't being poor that is the problem.