Although I don't often agree with him, I'll give Mark Reardon his due. He's good at what he does. He knows how to provoke discussion and keep people entertained.
Unfortunately, being a successful entertainer does not necessarily make someone a good crime reduction strategist. That takes years of acquired knowledge and experience, and even then, there are no sure things.
A few days ago, Mark decided to dabble in my profession, by tweeting, "Maybe @ChiefSLMPD and @MayorSlay could learn something about reducing crime from the police chief in
…" His tweet then linked to a news article about statements made by Detroit Police Chief James Craig, suggesting that increased gun ownership might help reduce crime in his city. Detroit
Since Mark is a big believer in the value of plain, honest talk, I'll state my point plainly and honestly and directly to him.
Mark, you’re wrong on this one.
According to a story in the Detroit News on January 3, 2014,
looks to have achieved a 7 percent reduction in violent crime for 2013. That is great news for the Detroit , because that 7 percent represents real, flesh and blood people, spared from the pain of victimization. Motor City
There's just one problem with Mark's theory. During the same time period, the decline in violent crime for
is 10.3 percent! (The official stats for St. Louis will be released next week.) St. Louis
Using the most recent data, published by the United States Justice Department – Federal Bureau of Investigation – Criminal Information Services Division’s, Crime in the United States, 2012, Detroit has a violent crime rate of roughly 21.2 per 1000 residents, whereas in St. Louis, it's several points lower at about 17.7 per 1000 residents.
has achieved a nearly 50 percent crime reduction in our city. St. Louis has also experienced a crime decline in those years, but perhaps not quite as dramatic. Detroit
So really Mark, which city should imitate which? The answer is each city has to develop solutions that work for it and there is no cookie-cutter approach, there is no silver bullet.
Bottom line! Mark Reardon's twitter feed may be entertaining, but that does not mean it contains any compelling evidence to make me stop believing what I and the overwhelming majority of my fellow police chiefs believe, more guns does not magically give us more safety.