Thursday, September 28, 2006
Effective Police Strategy: Combining Family Pressure with the Threat of Criminal Charges to Stop Drug Dealers
From WSJ.com:For over three months, police investigated more than 20 dealers operating in a High Point, North Carolina West End neighborhood, where crack cocaine was openly sold on the street and in houses. Police made dozens of undercover buys and videotaped many other drug purchases.
They also did something unusual: they determined the "influentials" in the dealers' lives -- mothers, grandmothers, mentors -- and cultivated relationships with them. When police felt they had amassed ironclad legal cases, they did something even more striking: they refrained from arresting most of the suspected dealers.
In a counterintuitive approach, police here are trying to shut down entire drug markets, in part by giving nonviolent suspected drug dealers a second chance. Their strategy combines the "soft" pressure from families and community with the "hard" threat of aggressive, ready-to-go criminal cases. While critics say the strategy is too lenient, it has met with early success and is being tried by other communities afflicted with overt drug markets and the violence they breed.
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]