Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A curfew on common sense

Letting the conclusion drive the facts invariably leads to poor public policy decisions, as eight years of the Bush-Cheney regime amply illustrated. Apparently, the city of Glens Falls never got that memo.

The Post-Star ran a good editorial (it does happen occasionally) casting skepticism on the city's attempts to impose a youth curfew.

The push to implement a curfew came following a costly vandalism spree that resulted in significant damage to the playground at Big Cross Elementary School, on the city's southwest side. Since they didn't catch who was involved, no one has any idea the age of the perpetrators, but that fact hasn't stopped the scapegoating of young people.

This isn't surprising since actual facts don't seem particularly germane to this debate. As this article pointed out:

A subcommittee was formed to research Glens Falls Police Department calls for service to see how many calls involved youths and were made within the parameters of a curfew, between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The study looked at the months of Jan. 1 through March 10 of this year and July through August 2009.

[...]

The low number of calls involving youths during curfew hours was hardly enough to provide "compelling" evidence for creating a new law. But the committee refused to give up and called for another study, this time compiling calls for service data for the past five years.
[emphasis mine]

In short, the sub-committee didn't find facts to back up its pre-ordained conclusion so it was going to look at further data until it could cherry pick what was required to fabricate the 'need.'

If the city really wanted to lower crime and the use of police resources, they'd put a curfew on drunks, not kids. I'm sure they wouldn't have to look at much data for that one.

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