Friday, December 19, 2008

Unequal Protection

The News and Record reports this morning that the GPD has stepped up patrols at "shopping centers across the city" in order to make people feel safer during the Christmas shopping season. Here's the N&R's map showing the affected shopping centers:

I'm sure people who shop at those centers appreciate the effort. But there's something missing -- literally -- from the map. That story should read, "across the city (if you don't count anything east of Church St. as part of the city)."

Here are some facts about crimes and arrests over the past month in three of the shopping areas that will receive extra police protection.*

The quaint and charming State Street district, tucked at the edge of Irving Park, Greensboro's wealthiest neighborhood, reported one arrest and no other crime incidents.

Shoppers on State St. near Irving Park.

The spanking-new Jefferson Village area, which recently sprang up in the fast-growth New Garden Road area, reported five arrests and 16 crime incidents, the most serious of which were four shoplifting incidents, one burglary, one larceny, and one forged check.

Shoppers at Michael's at Jefferson Village.

The Lawndale Crossing area reported significantly more crime: nine arrests and 38 crime incidents, including seven incidents of shoplifting, four larcenies, two burglaries, one robbery, and one auto theft.

But Pyramids Village, located at the intersection of E. Cone Boulevard and I-29, which is receiving no increased police presence, reported 19 arrests and 48 crime incidents, including four burglaries, five larcenies, two incidents of fraud, one bank robbery, and one robbery of an individual.

Walmart shoppers at Pyramids Village.

In short, a higher-crime shopping center on the poorer side of Greensboro gets no increased patrols, while lower-crime retailers in wealthier neighborhoods receive the lion's share of scarce police resources.

This makes me mad as hell.

*I collected the information using the GPD's P2C website, setting the crime radius at .5 mi except for State St., which is small; the .5 mi radius would have included Golden Gate shopping center and distorted the data.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The President, The Corps, and the Brigade

We spent Saturday at one of the few places left where a stadium full of people would enthusiastically cheer President Bush -- at the annual Army-Navy football game with the Corps, the Brigade, and their many families and supporters.

And cheer they did. It was very affecting when the Army cheerleaders surrounded and hugged the President, though I'm sure it made the Secret Service a bit nervous. He obviously returned the cadets' affection.

Robert Gates was there too (far left in the picture above). Before the game started, Air Force One buzzed the stadium while the Corps was doing its march-on, and waggled its wings over the field. That's actually cooler than it sounds -- George C. Scott captures the impression pretty well:

After that about 10 Army and Navy parachutists dropped spectacularly onto the field.

And then Navy jets and Army helicopters also buzzed the field.

So, not your typical football game. For Army fans, the pregame was a lot better than the game.

People who know me know I am anything but a football fan; the main attraction for me was the chance to see my favorite plebe, who is doing just fine. West Point ain't Disneyland, as they say, but he is taking its rigors in stride. And he looks great in gray.