I argue that (blue-collar) crime—theft and assault, in all their varieties—is still a real and major problem; that its economic and social costs are vastly under-appreciated; that its primary victims are disadvantaged minorities and poor people; that the current criminal-justice system wrongs them by under-enforcing the law against those who victimize them (who are, of course, mostly people like them in racial and class terms); that better criminal-justice policy could give us less crime and less incarceration; and that better and more equal law enforcement ought therefore to be as central a progressive political goal as better and more equal education or health care.
The collective started to go to the meetings in neighbors’ living rooms where people would tell alarming stories and shake their heads. Our members would get acquainted and show it was our problem, too. When the conversation turned to the demand for more police, as it always did, our members asked what the track record was. “What have the police done for you lately?”
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