Criminals Gone Wild

East St. Louis, faced with budget shortfalls, will lay off 30% of its police force (19 of its 62 officers) after negotiations with the union failed.? City residents and police officers worry the move will lead to a significant increase in crime.? “It’s open field day now,” said Reverend Joseph Tracy of Straightway Baptist Church. “The criminals are going to run wild.” Emotions ran high at the City Council meeting where Mayor Alvin Parks made the announcement.? “The blood is on your hands,” yelled Michael Hubbard, a police officer who says he’ll be the only cop on the midnight shift after the layoffs are effective. (HT: Collin Campbell) [%comments]

Drill-Baby-Drill Drill Team

In the Seminal Movie "Escape From New York": a futurisitic Post Apocalyptic Manhattan Island is a super high security prison where criminals run rampant. Their cruelty makes other criminals suffer their hard time.

Everything is Peach-Keen until the President's Jet, Air Force One, plane crashes into the financial district and werewolves lead by white collar pirates, Ivan Boesky, Jeffery Skilling and Michael Milken hold him hostage.

Maybe East St Louis can be a super one stop Prison City? Everyone in St. Louis, MO already avoids it like the plague. Just make sure President Obama's Plane flies a wide radius visually avoiding the St. Louis Arch.


When I lived in Belleville, IL (a stone's throw from ESL) I took the exit off I-64 to ESL one time. Just once. The streetlights were non-functional, all of the buildings had bars on the windows and no one stopped at the stop signs. It looked and felt like a war zone. In those days the Mayor of ESL actually had a warrant for his arrest in Missouri and the state police kept a cruiser on the bridge for a time trying to catch him crossing the river.

Can't imagine it will be any better without the semi-functional police dept even more depleted.


Of course, the City could do the smart thing: Lockout the union and hire scabs. This is how you beat unions that wont budge even when faced with the cold hard facts that you cannot compensate them how they feel they should be.


and next year when budget cuts happen again, another 10-15 officers will be let go (assuming negotiations fail)

Eric Wilson


Where is the interesting analysis? The question for the group? Some statistic to say that they should/should not be worried?

This reads like a newspaper blurb: short, sensational, and totally lacking any sort of useful analysis.


There is a zero % chance that they will have 43 cops and only 1 working the midnight shift. That does not square with any policing pattern i have ever heard of.

If he means he will be the only dedicated midnight cop, well la-di-da. Welcome to life on every police force under 25 people in the country.

Police departments are really expensive, and if citizens somehow think local governments can cut taxes without reaching into these types of services they do not understand their government budgets.

People in my town have screamed and screamed for tax cuts, and then when the city laid off a dozen parks and FD employees THE EXACT SAME PEOPLE screamed and screamed to get the cuts can canceled. It is as though they think there is some secret pot the city stuffs money into or something? What did you think the budget was for?


Here's how to fix it....

Use a PORTION of the money saved by laying off these cops to buy single-shot shotguns and shell for every legal, law-abiding citizen in East St. Louis

This, in essence, makes "cops" of every law-abiding citizen. They are the police of their own property.

Will there be accidents? Alas, no doubt there will be. But you can be sure that drive-by shootings and other random crime would have taken an even greater toll.

Criminals are already armed, not doubt. Give the citizens a fighting chance. We'd do that if someone was attacking an unarmed citizenry in another nation, so why not our own?


Hey Drill-Baby-Drill Drill Team,

Funny you bring up Escape from New York. That film was shot in Midtown St. Louis with apparently little modification needed to make the city looking like it did.

I must say, though, having gone to a university in midtown, it's a lot better these days. Better than ESL anyway.



I am really confused as to what you think that would accomplish in a place like ESL other than a lot of hospital and morgue visits for shooting victims? A large portion of the people would immediately sell such a weapon, most likely to criminals...

The toll from crime in a major US city, even in its most distressed areas, is historically speaking very low. We live in an extremely safe environment compared to any period in human history.

Adding more weapons to that environment is not going to make it safer. Most murders are crimes of passion anyway, not crimes of economics. Say somewhere like Minneapolis with a relatively high murder rate, arming everyone might deter a dozen or so economically motivated killings. In exchange you would get at least a hundred crimes of passion escalated from first-in-the face, to shootings. I cannot imagine it is worth it, even under the rosiest of assumptions.



Same thing is happening in Colorado Springs. The Libertarian solution? The rich neighborhoods are hiring their own police forces. Of course, the Springs is relying on the largesse of benefactors to keep certain (downtown) parks watered and some (certain neighborhood) swimming pools open. And Colorado Springs is not East St. Louis - the Springs is a fairly rich town, the difference is not a union but that the citizens don't want to pay for the services. Two interesting experiments but I really don't think they will come out well....


I think comparing your little town of 25 officers to the city with the highest murder rate in the country, and claiming that that is "just life" to have a small department is a little misguided. ESL has a higher murder rate than Compton, LA and Gary, IN combined (Sources: Wikipedia)

And I'd like to see some stats supporting most murders being crimes of passion, that's not what I learned in 4 years of undergrad in criminology.


Josh: Minneapolis does not have a particularly high murder rate for a US city.

Throwing out random wrong facts is not a good way to get people to believe the rest of your completely unsupported claims!


Washington Monument ploy anyone?...

I'd like to see the rest of their budget. Something tells me there are other services they could cut before they actually had to lay off police officers. Then again this place sounds like a total dump anyway, not sure how much difference it'll make/how many cops you'd need to hire to actually make a difference.

And given that little story about the mayor having an outstanding warrant in MO, I'm not sure this is your typical government/bureaucratic actor here anyway in control of the budget...

McCoy Pauley

Wow, sounds like the future as envisaged by Neale Stephenson in Snow Crash is coming to pass. Private police forces and private armies protecting private fiefdoms whilst the rich while away their time on Facebook and other electronic communications media. Great book - do yourself a favour and read it. You'll be surprised.

Eric M. Jones

Everything will be okay, as long as we have private security forces and the police to protect and serve the rich people. The prisons can keep the poor under control. Our government will preserve the rights of the priviledged to enjoy their lives without having to deal with filthy rabble. It's always been this way. Get real.

You have to wonder...Why aren't these people in the army overseas shooting other poor people? It's time to put the aristocracy back in charge.

No bread? Then let them eat cake.

The Joker from Overland Park

Dear People - Elect me the Joker as Mayor of ESL and I will bring a new order to the masses! Perhaps you have seen my work in the Dark Night yet now that myself and others like me are in charge or have we always been in charge, it is going to be a party. "Why so serious??? Put a smile on that face"

On a serious note - Small signs of society breaking down as when the basic needs of safety are or have not been achieved in a community. It will be a Lord of the Flies experiment and one to watch. How will this work out? I am sure the people who want peace and prosperity will be assailed on various fronts and ones that are unanticipated and surprised yet without basic needs achieved, my prediction is ESL will in fact replicate some of the security and communities arrangements post the fall of communism in Russia to provide private sector solutions for the non provisioning of a merit good.



@Josh: Depends on where. In some areas, crime is reduced when laws make it easier for citizens to own and carry guns. Doesn't work in all areas, but you can't assume the trend will go one way or another.


Cutting police (or threatening to) as opposed to other bloated agencies is merely a propoganda tactic to punsish the taxpayer into thinking they could pay less. It's always the "police, teachers and firemen" who will be laid off, becasue those are the only public workers people really care about.


I meant to say, "punish the taxpayer FOR thinking they could pay less...[without serious consequences]"


Why not merge with another local police department? I saw the recent NY Times article on Bell, CA and wondered why such a small place is an incorporated city to begin with instead of just being under the county.