Simple solutions to fighting crime

As the City of Warren continues to struggle getting its violence under control with dozens of vacant positions in its cash-strapped safety forces, its leaders should heed the advice issued by many experts – that trivial factors have a profound influence on whether a crime is committed.

Mark Buchanan, a theoretical physicist and a Bloomberg View columnist, pointed out that ”the location of streetlights, road layouts, housing designs and so on often have a decisive influence on whether crime hits one place rather than another.”

Criminologist Marcus Felson, author of the ”routine activity” theory, points out how much crime escalates in the absence of a third party – somebody who may intercede on behalf of the victim or somebody who might serve as a law enforcement witness.

Whether or not Warren ever increases the size of its police force, city leaders should explore some of these ideas. Strategically placed streetlights, permanent road closures, surveillance cameras, like those proposed by 6th-Ward Councilwoman Cheryl Saffold, especially in statistically proven hot spots, could make a difference.

This won’t be an easy task. For example, it will take effort to bring more people (potential interceders) to enjoy the city’s outdoors and it will take money for surveillance cameras (potential witnesses). But these measures could produce measurable results.